Here’s why companies are willing to blow up their


Over the past few months, we’ve watched as major corporations such as
, Anheuser-Busch, and Target have hopped on the
train and alienated their traditional client bases as a result. Regardless of the often swift and brutal backlash they know will follow, others, including North Face, Nike, and Kohl’s, are always waiting in the wings to become the next sacrificial lamb.

It turns out there’s a reason for this counterintuitive behavior that goes far beyond virtue signaling: Companies are trying to raise their Corporate Equality Index. The more
issues a company supports, the higher their score.


A CEI is essentially a “woke” credit score that is determined by the

Human Rights Campaign
, a 501(c)(4) organization that describes itself as “the largest LGBTQ political lobbying organization within the United States.” No one will be surprised to hear that George Soros’s Open Society Foundations is HRC’s largest donor. Other donors include the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the labor unions for the National Education Association and the United Food and Commercial Workers, according to

Influence Watch

Influence Watch reports HRC’s public charity arm, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, plays an influential role in Democratic Party politics by pressuring companies to comply with its social agenda.

A company’s CEI is derived from its performance in

five areas

  1. Workforce Protections (5 points possible).
  2. Inclusive Benefits (50 points possible).
  3. Supporting an Inclusive Culture (25 points possible).
  4. Corporate Social Responsibility (20 points possible).
  5. Responsible Citizenship (-25).

Yes, you read that right. “A large-scale official or public anti-LGBTQ blemish” on a company’s record will result in the loss of 25 points. HRC explains that “scores on this criterion are based on information that has come to HRC’s attention.”

For example, Fox News, which for three years had scored 100%,

lost its perfect rating
in April 2022 after several hosts defended Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R-FL) Parental Rights in Education Act, better known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.


2022 report
shows that 842 corporations achieved CEIs of 100%, which earned them the apparently coveted distinction of being one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality.”

An explainer about the index published by the New York Post last month

that CEI is “a lesser-known part of the burgeoning ESG [environmental, social, and corporate governance] ‘
ethical investing’ movement
increasingly pushed by the country’s top three investment firms,” BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street Bank. “ESG funds invest in companies that oppose fossil fuels, push for unionization, and stress racial and gender equity over merit in hiring and board selection.”

The New York Post reports that “HRC sends representatives to corporations every year telling them what kind of stuff they have to make visible at the company. They give them a list of demands and if they don’t follow through there’s a threat that you won’t keep your CEI score.”

James Lindsay, editor of the website New Discourses, told the New York Post, “HRC administers the CEI ranking ‘like an extortion racket, like the Mafia.’”

Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, a candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination,

, “The big fund managers like BlackRock all embrace this ESG orthodoxy in how they apply pressure to top corporate management teams and boards and they determine, in many cases, executive compensation and bonuses and who gets re-elected or re-appointed to boards. They can make it very difficult for you if you don’t abide by their agendas.”

In a 2018 letter to CEOs from BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, whom Fortune magazine has dubbed the “
face of ESG
,” he emphasizes a “new model of governance” in harmony with ESG values.


, “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose. To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. … [I]f a company doesn’t engage with the community and have a sense of purpose, it will ultimately lose the license to operate from key stakeholders.”

Fink is mistaken. Society is not demanding that companies serve a social purpose. Rather, ESG is being forced upon society by the global elites who wield it as a weapon and a control mechanism they can use to consolidate power over the masses.

The mission of the activist group Our Money, Our Values is to educate the public about the threats posed by ESG. OMOV

Derek Kreifels, the co-founder and CEO of State Financial Officers Foundation, on its front page: “ESG is a highly subjective political score infiltrating all walks of life, forcing progressive policies on everyday Americans, resulting in higher prices at the pump and at the store.”

Asked for a comment by the New York Post, Kreifels

, “The problem with measures like CEI, and its big brother ESG, is that it introduces an incentive structure outside of the bounds of business, often in ways contradictory to fiduciary duty.”

It certainly is. Corporations exist to maximize shareholder value, not to serve social purposes. The interests of shareholders of Anheuser-Busch, Disney, Target, and other companies whose executives have prioritized ESG over profits, and common sense, are clearly not being served.

If shareholders were smart, they’d take legal action to eradicate this attack on shareholder rights and American values. And even those of us who don’t have a financial stake in corporate American must understand that the culture wars are strangling us and turning the United States into a country we no longer recognize. We stop focusing on them at our peril.


Elizabeth Stauffer is a contributor to the Washington Examiner, Power Line, the Western Journal, and AFNN and is a past contributor to RedState, Newsmax, and
. Her articles have appeared on many sites, including RealClearPolitics, MSN, and the Federalist. Please follow Elizabeth on 

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