A headline crossed my desk that instantly caught my attention. I opened it in hopes that the leader of the largest asset manager in the world had come to his senses and realized his evil plans of forcing “Environment, Social, and Governance” (ESG) policies and investments were going to destroy capitalism, so he reversed course.
My hopes were quickly shattered when I read “BlackRock CEO: Never Mind About ESG” by Daniel Greenfield, copied below.
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As it turned out, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink isn’t disavowing ESG. He’s disavowing their destructive corporate ideology’s name. He doesn’t want to call it “ESG” anymore because of the negative connotation that has permeated across the financial world.
My hopes went from tentatively high to very, very low by the time I was halfway done with the article. By declaring that he’s changing the label, it tells us they have no intention of reducing their pressure on corporations, governments, and financial advisors. They’re on the verge of ramping it all up.
This is essentially the beginning of a rebrand for Fink, BlackRock, and the vast army of financial advisors they own. They intend to promote ESG by giving it a new name, perhaps shifting some of the focus away from “Environment” and “Social” into something less blatantly woke. He often refers to “conscientious capitalism” and “responsible investing,” which are code words for forced diversity and demands of corporations to participate in leftist causes. They’ve weaponized “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) as well as “Corporate Equity Index” (CEI) to make the largest corporations on the planet bow to their demands. This is why companies like Anheuser-Busch, Disney, and Target continue down their woke paths despite unambiguous failures with their core businesses.
It may seem self-serving for me to note that this is push by Fink and others is among the biggest reasons I’m so bullish on physical precious metals, but it needs to be said. Their control over financial advisors and retirement portfolio managers means the life’s savings of millions of Americans are being improperly managed, focusing on ESG (or whatever their new name will be) even when such investments do financial harm. We strongly recommend these four America First precious metals companies that we have vetted out because none of them are woke.
With that said, here’s Greenfield’s article…
BlackRock CEO: Never Mind About ESG
“I’m ashamed of being part of this conversation”
Why are so many major companies going woke and stiffing shareholders? Because their biggest shareholders are massive funds that push wokeness under the guise of formulas like ESG.
In 2020, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink declared that the climate apocalypse was here and everyone needed to adapt.
A successful low-carbon transition will require a coordinated, international response from governments aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement, including the adoption of carbon pricing globally, which we continue to endorse. Companies and investors have a meaningful role to play in accelerating the low-carbon transition. BlackRock does not see itself as a passive observer in the low-carbon transition. We believe we have a significant responsibility – as a provider of index funds, as a fiduciary, and as a member of society – to play a constructive role in the transition.
Where we have the greatest discretion – in portfolio construction, our active and alternatives platforms, and our approach to risk management – we will employ sustainability across our investment process. Where we serve index clients, we are improving access to sustainable investment options, and we are enhancing our stewardship to make sure that companies in which our clients are invested are managing these risks effectively.
“Stewardship”. What a nice way of saying, we’re going to make sure companies toe our political line.
Now, Larry is a little less enthusiastic about ESG.
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said he’s no longer using the term “ESG” (environment, social and governance) because it is being politically “weaponized” and he’s “ashamed” to be part of the debate on the issue.
In a conversation at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Sunday, Fink acknowledged that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to pull $2 billion in assets hurt his firm in 2022, but made clear last year was his company’s best with net flows of $200 billion from U.S. clients.
“I’m ashamed of being part of this conversation,” Fink said.
“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,” he told the crowd.
Of course, that’s nonsense. The 2020 letter was pure uncut Colombian-grade advocacy. And one that was being implemented by force.
And even now, Larry is trying to have it both ways.
When pressed on the statement later in the conversation, Fink backtracked.
“I never said I was ashamed,” he said, incorrectly. “I’m not ashamed. I do believe in conscientious capitalism.”
“I’m not going to use the word ESG because it’s been misused by the far left and the far right,” he added.
So while Fink may not long want to use the E word, assume that the same agendas will be rebranded. Fink isn’t unhappy with ESG, but how people are making it look bad.
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Fink’s latest dispatch deemphasizes ESG investing — increasingly a politically fraught topic — compared to his most recent annual letters. In fact, the term ESG does not appear anywhere in the letter.
The energy transition concerns are not raised until paragraph 18, and the word “climate” doesn’t appear until the eighth page of the lengthy letter. Even when it does, climate is only used five times.
A little fear is a good thing. BlackRock, like many woke mega-corps, is far too powerful, has too much influence, but now it’s sensing that it might be on the wrong side of a movement.
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