Derek Seidman, 18 January 2018
Larry D. Fink may be the most powerful investor in the world. As founder and CEO of BlackRock, he oversees the investment of around $6 trillion – yes, trillion – in funds. When Fink talks, companies listen. Now Fink appears to be trying to wield BlackRock’s influence for good. In a letter he drafted that he’s sending to CEOs, Fink writes:
“Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose. To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”
The New York Times went so far as to say the letter “may be a watershed moment on Wall Street, one that raises all sorts of questions about the very nature of capitalism.”
But if Fink is pushing a new wave of shareholder activism to promote social responsibility, he doesn’t need to go much further than his own company. BlackRock is a huge investor in some of the nastiest industries around – private prisons, fossil fuels, and shady banks, to name a few.