ESG, Larry Fink, and Other Peoples’ Money

This op-ed by NLPC Chairman Peter Flaherty appears today on Real Clear Markets:

Last week, Exxon Mobil, one of the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas companies, lost a critical board fight with Engine No.1, a “woke” small investor group. The win was predictably spun by the mainstream media as a David vs. Goliath story as well as a milestone moment for a new type of altruistic Environmental, Social and Governance investor.

The truth, however, is more cynical than heroic. Among other things, this is a story of how a billionaire like Larry Fink, a true Wolf of Wall Street, uses other people’s money to simultaneously camouflage his checkered past and help promote himself as an elder statesman of the markets, a beneficent oligarch with a penchant for saving the planet. 

The popular media narrative is that this latest Exxon shareholder campaign was conducted by a small group … Read More ➡

Study Debunks BlackRock Claims that ESG Funds Did Better During COVID

Larry Fink

So-called environmental, social and governance (ESG) priorities, as applied to investment principles, have seen a massive influx of cash during the COVID-19 pandemic – so much so that influential financial firm leaders have celebrated them as better performers than normal “make-a-profit” funds.

But is that really true?

Mega-firm BlackRock and CEO Larry Fink have called greater attention to ESG, beginning early in 2018 with a letter to more than 1,000 publicly traded companies urging them to elevate issues such as climate change and diversity higher in their considerations as they go about their business.

“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.”

CNBC reported earlier this month that the amount of assets in funds that follow ESG … Read More ➡

BlackRock Threatens U.S. Firms While Coddling Chinese Polluters

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.

“Our approach on climate issues, … Read More ➡