Is ESG About To End? BlackRock CEO Abandons Term As It Became “Weaponized” Politically

Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, has declared that he will no longer use the term “ESG” (environment, social, and governance), as he believes it has become politically “weaponized.” Fink expressed his deep disappointment and shame in being associated with the contentious debate surrounding the issue.

As the world’s largest asset manager, with assets under management amounting to $9.2 trillion, BlackRock’s approach to investment sets a crucial precedent for the market.

BlackRock’s once-optimistic stance on responsible environmental, social, and governance investing has faced criticism from conservatives who view it as a form of “woke capitalism.” Additionally, the company has encountered boycotts from the states of Florida and Texas.

Fink has been a prominent advocate for incorporating climate change risks into investment strategies and corporate leadership.

But during a conversation at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Fink acknowledged that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ decision to withdraw $2 billion in assets had negatively impacted his firm in 2022. However, he emphasized that last year was BlackRock’s best, with net flows of $200 billion from U.S. clients.

At the time, the asset manager has emphasized that their efforts to support ESG is aimed at improving company performance, it has resisted calls for steps like divesting from oil companies, which have prompted some criticism from Democratic officials, saying BlackRock doesn’t push ESG concerns enough.

“I am deeply ashamed to be part of this conversation,” he said to the crowd at the Aspen Ideas Festival. “When I write these [investment] letters, it was never meant to be a political statement… They were written to identify longterm issues to our longterm investors.”

However, when questioned further, Fink backtracked, insisting that he never used the word “ashamed” and expressing his belief in conscientious capitalism.

“I never said I was ashamed,” he clarified, although he did use the word. “I’m not ashamed. I do believe in conscientious capitalism.”

He added that he will not be going to use the word ESG “because it’s been misused by the far left and the far right.”

Instead of using the term ESG, Fink stated that they focus extensively on decarbonization, governance, and social issues that require attention.

Information for this briefing was found via Axios and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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