Elon Musk called the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scoring “a scam” in a series of Twitter posts on May 18, citing S&P Global’s inclusion of ExxonMobil Corporation in its ESG Index while his own electric car company, Tesla Motors, was removed.
In subsequent Twitter posts, Musk claimed that Tesla has done “more for the environment than any company ever” and asserted that S&P Global “has lost their integrity.”
“In the past I voted Democrat, because they were (mostly) the kindness party. But they have become the party of division & hate, so I can no longer support them and will vote Republican. Now, watch their dirty tricks campaign against me unfold,” he wrote.
A spokesperson for S&P Dow Jones Indices (DJI) told The Epoch Times that ExxonMobil wasn't ranked among the “top ten best in the world” on ESG by S&P. In actuality, ExxonMobil was highlighted in a May 17 blog post on S&P’s ESG index because it's among the 10 largest companies in that index by market capitalization.
Dorn also cited Tesla’s “handling” of an investigation into Tesla’s phantom braking problem, which was announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in April.
“While Tesla may be playing its part in taking fuel-powered cars off the road, it has fallen behind its peers when examined through a wider ESG lens,” wrote Dorn, who serves as senior director and head of ESG Indices, North America, for S&P DJI.
Tesla’s removal also comes after Musk and other Silicon Valley billionaires have publicly criticized the ESG concept on various grounds.
At an April Bitcoin conference in Miami, venture capitalist and prominent Republican donor Peter Thiel told the crowd that ESG is a means of exercising totalitarian control, including over the development of cryptocurrencies.
Thiel's words came within weeks of a Biden administration executive order on cryptocurrency. That order stressed the administration's interest in a potential U.S. digital dollar, or central bank digital currency (CBDC).
Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape and the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, has also taken to social media to skewer the concept of ESG.
“Actual shareholders are mostly irrelevant,” he said.
Tesla and Musk didn't respond to requests for comment by press time.