"The Trump administration is taking aim at climate-friendly investments with a plan to block retirement fund managers from decisions the Labor Department says would put social goals before profits.
But critics say Labor's proposed rule last week could instead backfire on funds that include fossil fuel companies - whose performance is trending worse than those focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria.
"Why is DOL picking on Big Oil like this?" quipped Andrew Behar, CEO of the shareholder advocacy group As You Sow. "The people who wrote this are confused."
At issue is Labor's interpretation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, which requires financial managers in control of private pension funds, 401(k) plans and other retirement accounts to act in the best financial interests of plan participants. The department is placing more scrutiny on sustainable investments by arguing that ESG concerns can get in the way of sound investment strategies."