Apparently true to its word – or at least virtue-signaling a head fake in that direction – mega-investor BlackRock put some companies in its portfolio on notice that their efforts to address transparency and mitigation regarding “climate change” are insufficient.
The $6.5 trillion firm announced earlier this week in a report that it had warned 244 of those companies that they insufficiently address climate concerns, and that it had voted against resolutions and directors at 53 of them because of those shortcomings. It warned the other 191 companies they “risk voting action in 2021 if they do not make substantial progress,” according to the Financial Times.
BlackRock first announced its plans to increase scrutiny of its investments, with regard to climate, in January.
Some of the names on BlackRock’s naughty list include fossil fuel-concentrated industries like ExxonMobil, Volvo, Daimler, and coal company Peabody Energy.
Following an effort by National Legal and Policy Center to urge the world’s largest investment firm to divest its customers’ money from 137 companies based in communist China, two Senators have also turned up the pressure.
In a letter dated Monday, Republican Sens. Martha McSally and Kevin Cramer – of Arizona and North Dakota, respectively – asked BlackRock CEO Larry Fink to explain apparent inconsistencies in the company’s approach to managing its funds. Specifically, the senators wanted to know why BlackRock’s U.S. investments are held to a higher standard as it pertains to appeasing activist investors with a progressive agenda, as opposed to its holdings in foreign companies that do not comply with minimal legal and auditing standards.
Fink has led his firm into the decision-making of the U.S. companies where BlackRock has its investments, voting “on 18,758 shareholder proposals and participated in 2,269 shareholder … Read More ➡
Following the death of George Floyd at the hands of an out-of-control Minneapolis police officer, and demonstrations mixed with riots across the country, many American corporations weighed in with official statements or financial support for causes – or both.
Unfortunately the involvement of some put them more on the side of divisiveness than unity, at a time when the country needs the latter the most.
Ultimately many of the companies and/or their top-ranking officers got behind (again) the dubious narrative that there is “systemic racism” in law enforcement, and that minorities are disproportionately treated as suspects – or singled out for violent police tactics – more than whites. As Manhattan Institute fellow Heather Mac Donald and former US Attorney Andrew McCarthy explained earlier this week, citing very convincing statistics, the idea there is structural bias in policing is a myth.
The Wall Street Journal today published this letter from NLPC Chairman Peter Flaherty:
Pity the situation of BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, who finds himself being mau-maued by green activists at his annual stockholder meeting for not doing enough to disinvest from fossil-fuel companies.
One way he can expiate his sins is to disinvest in the 153 China-owned or controlled companies as our organization recently called on him to do. Besides covering up the pandemic spread in Wuhan, Communist China is a major human-rights abuser, “re-educating” Muslim Uighurs in prison camps, conducting digital surveillance of its citizens and cracking down on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
Apparently, neither Mr. Fink’s idea of moral and socially responsible investing nor that of his so-called “progressive” critics takes into account these human-rights issues. The sixth circle of Dante’s hell punishes hypocrisy.
President Trump said this morning in a Fox Business interview with Maria Bartiromo that he is “looking at” the question of Chinese companies listed on American exchanges. His comment came a day after National Legal and Policy Centerasked the CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, to divest its customers’ holdings in 137 Chinese companies listed on American stock exchanges.
Earlier this week, agencies of the United States government took a similar step. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which manages retirement savings for government employees and military, announced that it would freeze its plan to invest in Chinese stocks this year. The decision came at the urging of officials in the Trump administration and from members of Congress, who do not want to see the communist nation rewarded with American investments following its mishandling and cover-up of the release … Read More ➡
In a letter to BlackRock Chairman and CEO Larry Fink, the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) today asked the firm to divest its customer’s money from the137 Chinese companies currently listed on American stock exchanges.
BlackRock recently divested itself of certain companies that produce thermal coal in response to demands by anti-fossil fuel activists. In the letter, NLPC Chairman Peter Flaherty cites this “precedent” and argues that Chinese companies “that manufacture equipment for Xi’s surveillance state or that are dominated by the People’s Liberation Army raise even bigger ethical questions.” Here is the full text of the letter:
Because BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager and you have championed the principle of divestment as a moral necessity, we ask that you divest your managed funds from the 137 Chinese companies listed on the three American exchanges.
All are under the influence and ultimate control of the Communist … Read More ➡
For decades labor unions have utilized the tactics of corporate campaigns, which single out and target individual companies with public pressure via shaming and critical attacks, in order to get them to surrender and accept unionization of their workers.
Other activists behind various progressive causes have adopted the strategy in order to advance their agendas. Not the least of these are the shrill climate change warriors, who battle against the “evils” of the fossil fuels that energize almost every aspect of our everyday modern lives.
So far environmental pressure groups like Greenpeace and 350.org have gone after the obvious targets: coal and oil companies; public utilities like Duke Energy and American Electric Power; the automobile industry; and tech companies like Apple and Amazon who churn massive amounts of electricity for cloud computing services and the like.
By law, managers of employer-sponsored pension plans must act in the best interests of investors. Unfortunately, many such fiduciaries are applying an unusually broad definition. That’s why the U.S. Department of Labor has clarified the issue. On April 23, the DOL released a guidance statement intended to discourage benefit managers from applying the principle known as Environmental, Social and Governance to investment decisions. Such a practice might seem worthy, noted the department, but it may place safety and soundness in harm’s way. The action is especially a rebuke to those who see issues advocacy as a top business priority.
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), alternately known as Corporate Social Responsibility, is a philosophy holding that a corporation is not only a business enterprise, but also a steward of the public good. A company, in this view, can and should be at once profitable and morally conscious. A company must … Read More ➡
There’s nothing unusual about a corporation offering employees paid leave for vacations, illness or personal emergencies. That’s a fact of the modern workplace. But lately employers have begun to provide paid leave for something far less justifiable: social justice activism. Employees themselves, backed by social media mobs, increasingly are demanding that management take stands on gun control, global warming, immigration and other major issues and that they should be compensated for taking part in protests. And these shakedowns in the future might cost noncomplying executives their jobs. It’s another example of why business should not be a vehicle for political advocacy.
The Left always has been resourceful in building cadres. And the workplace has become a new political frontier. Not that many companies aren’t already on board with this. At Luxe, a San Francisco-based valet parking smart phone app, founder and CEO Curtis Lee, angered over President Trump’s … Read More ➡
With about $6 trillion of assets under management, BlackRock Inc. carries a lot of weight in the business world. And Laurence Fink, CEO and chairman of the New York-based investment firm, wants everyone to know that. In a letter dated January 12, Fink urged dozens of CEOs of publicly-traded companies to expand their horizons beyond the confines of profit. “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose,” he wrote. “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.” Though such words sound reasonable, they epitomize a common error about the institutional role of the corporation.
For decades, corporations, prodded by government, nonprofit activists and their own shareholders, have been retooling themselves as social problem solvers. Under the doctrine of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), companies are behaving as policy-oriented philanthropies. … Read More ➡