DeSantis Goes After Companies ‘Imposing Woke Ideology on the Economy’

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By Mivette Vega

July 28, 2022

The governor announced actions against these businesses and his plans to prohibit state investments that use “environmental, social, and governance” ratings, which could affect services like PayPal.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has now turned his cannons toward businesses because he says they are “imposing woke ideology on the economy.”  

“Woke” describes someone who has “woken up” to issues of social injustice and is aware in a political or cultural sense, especially regarding issues surrounding marginalized communities. For some, the term is used pejoratively, describing someone who is too liberal or too politically correct.

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On Wednesday, the governor announced actions against these companies and his plans to prohibit state investments that use “environmental, social, and governance” ratings, including those that consider the impacts of climate change.

“And what you’ve seen is a rise of something called ESG — environmental, social, governance — where they will grade different companies based on how they’re performing on those metrics. And then even using that when they’re managing pension funds for people and we’ve got retired teachers, law enforcement, that rely on these pension funds, and they’re putting in all these other criteria rather than just what’s the best investment,” DeSantis said during the press conference.

DeSantis’s proposal could affect money transfer services such as PayPal, credit cards, and banks.

In the past, PayPal has cut off accounts and fundraising platforms affiliated with far-right groups such as the Proud Boys, as well as to anti-fascism or “Antifa” groups, for violating its policy on promoting violence or intolerance.

DeSantis plans to have the State Board of Administration, which oversees investments, direct pension-fund managers away from these companies.

He also plans to work during the 2023 legislative session with incoming House Speaker Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) to put into law ESG prohibitions.

The ESG practices can include considering a wide range of issues in investments, such as companies’ climate-change vulnerabilities, carbon emissions, product safety, supply-chain labor standards, privacy, and data security, among others.

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The opposition and organizations such as DeSantis Watch, a joint project from Florida Watch and Progress Florida, criticized the governor’s decision because Florida is affected by the climate crisis.

“By prohibiting the use of Environmental, Social, and Governance standards when the state makes investment decisions, Ron DeSantis is once again doing the bidding of his large corporate donors & billionaire supporters, instead of putting the best interests of Floridians first,” the organization wrote on Twitter.


  • Mivette Vega

    Mivette Vega is a seasoned journalist and multimedia reporter whose stories center the Latino community. She is passionate about justice, equality, environmental matters, and animals. She is a Salvadorrican—Salvadorian that grew up in Puerto Rico—that has lived in San Juan, Venice, Italy, and Miami.



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