Omeed Malik is at the forefront of championing the Patriotic economy as the chairman and CEO of Colombier Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: CLBR), a special-purpose acquisition company. With his SPAC, which is slated to take PublicSq. public in the third quarter, and 1789 Capital, Omeed provides financing for companies that resist the influence of woke agendas.
Russ Alan Prince: Where do you see the challenges with ESG?
Omeed Malik: As someone who is deeply skeptical of woke capitalism and its derivatives, I see significant challenges with ESG. It’s become a fad that companies are contorting themselves to affiliate with for marketing purposes. At its foundation, ESG has been an attempt to virtue signal to consumers and investors alike. However, the results are in, and it’s clear that ESG underperforms relative to other indices.
Take Vanguard, for example, who recently quit the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, opting for more independence and neutrality. Or the fossil-free fund manager, Green Century, who followed suit. These are the early dominos to fall amongst asset managers, highlighting a growing skepticism and disillusionment with the effectiveness of ESG as a viable framework for sustainable investing, and more importantly, understanding consumers’ desires.
ESG’s challenges present significant opportunities for alternative investment strategies. That’s why I started 1789 Capital, a private fund that invests in companies that are ignored or excluded by the current ESG framework. It’s absurd that a coal mining deal projecting $100 million of EBITDA cannot secure $20 million of debt because banks are prohibited from investing in them based on ESG criteria.
It has failed to deliver on its promises and has left many businesses and industries marginalized and excluded. This is why we need alternative investment strategies that prioritize entrepreneurship, innovation and growth—EIG—over the failed and flawed principles of ESG.
As we navigate today’s divisive climate, it’s crucial to question and challenge the validity and effectiveness of ESG. We cannot afford to blindly adopt ideologies that are detached from reality and fail to deliver meaningful results. It’s time to rethink our approach to sustainability and investing, and explore alternative solutions that prioritize the needs and aspirations of all stakeholders, rather than surrendering to the pitfalls of woke capitalism and its derivatives like ESG.
Prince: What areas of the economy are well-positioned for investment opportunities?
Malik: The “Patriotic” economy presents significant investment opportunities for savvy investors. Many Americans are feeling frustrated with woke culture and corporations that attempt to force a particular political ideology upon them. The hyper-politicization of the marketplace and cancel culture have left consumers feeling underserved and unheard.
In today’s divisive climate, where nearly half of Americans are unlikely to support businesses whose political leanings do not align with their own, consumers are increasingly seeking to vote with their wallets. This has led to the rise of platforms that offer alternatives for like-minded consumers, and this trend is unlikely to go away.
We have crossed the rubicon when it comes to companies remaining neutral in the current political climate. Customers are responding to this sea change, with 71% of Americans expressing a desire to patronize companies that align with their values. This sentiment is even more pronounced among millennials, with 83% of them expressing a preference for businesses that share their values.
Investing in the “Patriotic” economy presents a unique investment opportunity. Companies that take a stand against woke culture and cancel culture are likely to attract a growing customer base that is seeking alternatives to the mainstream narrative.
Prince: What is the new parallel economy that is emerging and why?
Malik: The battle for liberty is playing out in commerce, and it’s created a market opportunity for a parallel economy to thrive. Large incumbents in the market are censoring consumers and small businesses, stifling free speech, and promoting a woke, ESG, agenda.
The current market landscape is dominated by companies that cater to the ESG narrative, which aligns with the values of only a portion of the population. This leaves a massive untapped market of consumers who do not prioritize these concerns and are seeking alternatives.
Small businesses that champion traditional American values and reject the ESG narrative can benefit from this growing consumer movement. By investing in America first businesses that reject woke culture, ESG agendas, and other politically driven narratives, investors can potentially capitalize on the growing movement of consumers who are seeking alternatives and supporting businesses that align with their values. This presents an opportunity to support small businesses, promote free speech, and champion America first values.
Russ Alan Prince is the executive director of Private Wealth magazine and chief content officer for High-Net-Worth Genius. He consults with family offices, the wealthy, fast-tracking entrepreneurs and select professionals.