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The world’s largest money manager calls for businesses to think beyond profit


24 January 2022 at 5:20 pm
Nikki Stefanoff
As BlackRock CEO Larry Fink writes his latest letter to global executives telling them to get clearer on their social purpose, critics suggest he should instead be focusing on pushing companies harder to go green.


Nikki Stefanoff | 24 January 2022 at 5:20 pm


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The world’s largest money manager calls for businesses to think beyond profit
24 January 2022 at 5:20 pm

As BlackRock CEO Larry Fink writes his latest letter to global executives telling them to get clearer on their social purpose, critics suggest he should instead be focusing on pushing companies harder to go green.

Every year, Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the world’s biggest investment fund manager, writes a letter to the chief executives of businesses BlackRock has invested in. 

In this year’s missive, Fink told CEOs that in order for their businesses to succeed they need to think beyond profits and be clear on their social purpose. 

He also reiterated his belief that pushing climate policies was about profit, not being “woke”. 

“Stakeholder capitalism is not about politics. It is not a social or ideological agenda. It is not ‘woke’,” he wrote.

 “We focus on sustainability not because we’re environmentalists, but because we are capitalists and fiduciaries to our clients.”

He added: “Every company and every industry will be transformed by the transition to a net-zero world. The question is, will you lead, or will you be led?”

However, The New York Times wrote that some critics say Fink and BlackRock aren’t pushing companies hard enough to go green.  

A collection of not for profits and advocates have mobilised to form BlackRock’s Big Problem, which accuses BlackRock of failing to exclude major polluters from its investment funds, even when it comes to environmental, social and governance (ESG) focused products. 

And the criticism is valid, Fink actually reiterated in his letter that BlackRock does not pursue divestment from oil and gas companies as a policy. Instead, he argued: “Divesting from entire sectors – or simply passing carbon-intensive assets from public markets to private markets – will not get the world to net zero.”

But he did write in favour of ESG policies and said that they shouldn’t be seen as a business fad, and instead should be recognised as a permanent fixture of the corporate world. 

Any business leaders that choose not to adapt to this new way of thinking, he said, risk being overtaken by younger rivals. 

“The next 1,000 unicorns won’t be search engines or social media companies,” he said. 

“They’ll be sustainable, scalable innovators – startups that help the world decarbonise and make the energy transition affordable for all consumers.” 

Fink’s annual letter is widely followed by business leaders and, over the last decade, he’s become an influential voice consistently pushing CEOs to think beyond profits to their social purpose. 

You can read the full letter here


Nikki Stefanoff  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

Nikki Stefanoff is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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