BlackRock CEO to companies: Figure out your social mission if you want funding

In his yearly letter to chief executives, BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink called on companies they invest in to lay out their long-term plans of making a positive impact on society — or find new funding. In the letter, Fink warned that companies unable to prove social impact was important to them would “lose the license […]


January 17, 2018

In his yearly letter to chief executives, BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink called on companies they invest in to lay out their long-term plans of making a positive impact on society — or find new funding.

In the letter, Fink warned that companies unable to prove social impact was important to them would “lose the license to operate from key stakeholders.”

The irony of altruism

This is not the first time Fink has penned a letter warning companies he invests in to be more socially conscious. In 2017, BlackRock led a “shareholder rebellion” against ExxonMobil, urging them to be more transparent with climate change-related risks.

But there’s a certain hypocrisy in their demand. Since ’88, BlackRock has all but made a killing off the misfortune of others, serving as US advisors in 2009’s trillion-dollar bailout program during the financial crisis — a crisis, we might add, that they helped create.

A world power in the shadows

But this shouldn’t take away from BlackRock’s potentially beneficial mandate: This is a company that handles  $6TN in assets — over 5% of all financial assets worldwide — and has a toe dipped into nearly every facet of the financial market.

To enforce this new initiative, BlackRock plans to up the size of their investment auditing team to 60+ people.

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