Operating on a limited budget from a suburban location near Washington, an individual named Will Hild is preparing to challenge Wall Street and the supporters of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investing. Hild and his small team at Consumers’ Research are at the forefront of this movement, devising confrontational campaigns that criticize financial managers who aim to merge profits with altruistic objectives by utilizing metrics related to the environment, social issues, and corporate governance to guide their investment decisions. Hild, who is 37 years old, receives support from influential right-wing figure Leonard Leo and is part of a network of conservatives dedicated to opposing ESG, with many of them expressing opposition to initiatives addressing climate change.
Hild works discreetly, traveling across the country to persuade Republican state officials to join his cause. However, he is also comfortable taking a more public role, sending provocative text messages denouncing “woke” corporations or appearing in the media to highlight ESG as a threat to the United States. Of particular focus for Hild is BlackRock Inc. and its CEO, Larry Fink. Despite having an annual budget last year equivalent to just 0.002% of BlackRock’s earnings, Hild played a significant role in transforming ESG from a niche investment strategy primarily popular in Europe into a subject commonly discussed on right-wing AM radio talk shows. His efforts contributed to political moves in Florida, Texas, and other states to attempt to prohibit BlackRock from conducting business with them.
Hild stated that his anti-ESG campaign is still in its early stages and may extend beyond the next presidential election. To date, he has spent nearly $10 million on his endeavor, with nearly half of that amount aimed at BlackRock. Hild intends to continue his attacks on the financial institution.
For his upcoming campaign against Bank of America, Hild has allocated an initial budget of $500,000, which he plans to spend in the coming weeks. Hild sees Bank of America as a more accessible target than BlackRock, given its widespread recognition with millions of customers and thousands of branches across the nation. Hild explained that Bank of America presented itself as a symbol of America, promoting freedom and liberty. However, he pointed out that the bank engaged in various practices that were detrimental to consumers.