ASBN Applauds President Biden Veto Department of Labor’s Final Ruling

Media Release

The American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN) applauds President Biden’s Veto of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) that would nullify the Department of Labor’s final ruling that allows ERISA fiduciaries to consider financially relevant ESG factors on behalf of retirement savers.

It is essential that employees are given better investment options when it comes to their finances and retirement so they can select the investments that are most suitable for themselves and their personal choices, say David Levine & Jeffrey Hollender, Co-Founders of the American Sustainable Business Network.

We were strong proponents of the US Department of Labor’s Final Rule of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) which empowered plan fiduciaries to safeguard the savings of America’s workers by clarifying that fiduciaries may consider climate change and other environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors when they make investment decisions and when they exercise shareholder rights, including voting on shareholder resolutions and board nominations.

Since 2020, ASBN and partners have been in support of the Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights rule-which allows the federal government to implement policies to help safeguard the financial security of America’s families, businesses and workers from climate-related financial risk that may threaten the life savings and pensions of U.S. workers and families.

Extreme weather, wage inequalities, social injustice, and pollution continue to shape business operations, the economy and are now part of mainstream conversation for the American people. For the economy to grow and respond to current and future impacts of a changing climate, these actors have to be taken into account.

The politicization of environmental, social and governance factors is an unfortunate but not unexpected byproduct of the political climate our nation is in. We push for our elected officials on both sides of the aisle to align toward the common goal of financial health and security for American workers and their retirement savings. The Department of Labor’s common sense approach to the final rule rightfully allows for consideration of relevant ESG factors allowing fiduciaries to uphold their duties to their clients.

Companies that integrate a concern for the environment and social justice into their actions should be applauded. We are outraged by this attempt to politicize a non-partisan movement which has the support of a huge majority of Americans. Corporations are finally starting to take the interest of the community into account. In order to score some cheap political points, politicians are harming their own constituents. As two of the pioneers of socially responsible business, we are outraged and applaud President Biden’s decision to exercise his executive privilege and veto the CRA. – Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield, Founders of Ben & Jerry’s

About ASBN

The American Sustainable Business Network partners with business organizations and companies to advocate for solutions and policies that support an equitable, sustainable stakeholder economy. ASBN is a multi-issue, business organization advocating on behalf of all sectors, sizes, and geographies of industry. ASBN and its association members collectively represent over 250,000 businesses across our networks. ASBN is coalition-focused in our approach to solving the pervasive and systemic issues of climate and energy, infrastructure, circular economy, and creating an inclusive just stakeholder economy. ASBN is changing the rules by which business is done so it is better for all people and the environment.