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Spooked corporate officers dramatically cut references to ESG & DEI initiatives amid growing backlash

Big companies appear to be getting a wake-up call after Bud Light and Target disastrously embraced transgenders in their ad campaigns and merchandise, and have cut references to DEI and ESG by a whopping 31 percent.

As shares for both companies nose-dive, it’s giving a whole new meaning to “go woke, go broke.” Bud Light and Target have literally lost billions over an unpopular political statement and other big firms do not want to follow their lead.

According to the Daily Mail, “An analysis of earnings calls has seen a sudden and rapid fall when it comes to firms mentioning the terms ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’, ‘green and social initiatives’ and ‘sustainability’ in quarterly calls to investors.”

Prior to the first quarter of 2022, there were roughly 1,000 mentions of those causes in earning calls. Things have radically changed since then. By the second quarter of 2023, that number had nearly dropped by half with 575 mentions of ESG and DEI occurring. That happened in only 15 months.


There has been a 31 percent drop in mentions of progressive ideology in the most recent quarter compared to this time last year, according to The Wall Street Journal. It is the biggest year-over-year decline in the last five quarters for the terms.

Bud Light and Target shares are still plummeting with no end in sight as boycotts against the companies bite. The two companies failed to read the room when they went all-in for the transgender movement. They are paying a steep price for that and the futures of both companies are in question.

Due to the overwhelming outcry from conservative activists and investors, big companies appear to be shifting, instead focusing on “social good.” That may or may not work as Americans are closely paying attention to their strategies. There is no evidence that most large corporations have stopped pushing “woke” ideology. They are just getting better at hiding it.

DocuSign, which has a market cap of $11 billion, announced its carbon-neutral status in March 2022, with plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. But interestingly, there was not a single mention by executives including Chief Financial Officer Cynthia Gaylor of sustainability initiatives, carbon-neutral status, or net-zero emissions during earnings calls.


Chip maker Qualcomm last mentioned ESG topics on an earnings call in February 2022 when CFO Akash Palkhiwala said the company had recently published its annual corporate responsibility and ESG report, outlining progress against its companywide targets, including environmental sustainability and diversity and inclusion.

Meal-kit provider Blue Apron last mentioned ESG in November 2022 according to The Wall Street Journal, when CEO Linda Findley claimed it continued to focus on ESG and had recently launched its inaugural ESG report. Findley and former CFO Randy Greben had previously touted the company’s efforts as well.

“When we increased our starting hourly wages to $18 per hour, we viewed it not only as an investment in our ESG initiatives but also as simply a wise business decision,” Greben said during an August 2022 call.