Capitalism Reimagined | January 20, 2022

‘Deeply scary’: Agents of Impact react to Larry Fink’s letter

Dennis Price
ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

ImpactAlpha, Jan. 20 – BlackRock chief Larry Fink’s latest letter to CEOs elicited “a collective yawn,” we wrote earlier this week. “Fink’s annual letters have gone from leading indicators to conventional wisdom.” That spurred a response from Laura Ortiz of SVX Mexico. We need to shift “the collective yawn to collective accountability,” she wrote. Agents of Impact weighed in. What’s your take? 

  • Collective accountability. Ortiz called Fink’s post “deeply scary” and “an intentional defense of capitalism at all costs.” Fink presented “decarbonization as the only goal and technology as the one savior,” she wrote. Mentions of “natural capital” such as ​​clean air, clean water, fertile soil and healthy ecosystems are absent from Fink’s letter, notes Ortiz. “So no yawn from me, more like outrage and accountability demanding rage,” she tweeted.
  • Short on substance. The letter was “inconsequential,” writes Dmitriy Ioselevich of 17 Communications. Fink tried to placate both conservative and progress critics of sustainable investing, which “usually means pissing off everyone equally,” Ioselevich said. The letter was “written in such a way as to make it seem like Fink/BlackRock had something important to say but without having to say anything of substance.” 
  • Lacking in leadership. If Fink fails to stand up to climate skeptics now, what will happen to BlackRock’s portfolio companies that lag in the low-carbon transition? asks Sunrise Movement’s Casey Harrell. Climate science has to “rise above the political fray,” Harrell says. “Will Larry have the gumption to get up and tell uncomfortable truths to these companies?”