Op-Ed: ESG - BlackRock’s Hard Place

This article was authored by Andy Puzder for the National Review on November 15, 2022.


The asset manager’s policies are making it a target for attorneys general and state treasurers around the country. Was the virtue-signaling worth it?


The world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock Inc., has lodged itself securely between a blue-state rock and a red-state hard place because of its environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) investment criteria.


While left-leaning states have long supported BlackRock’s ESG investing, conservative states increasingly object. In August, 19 red-state attorneys general sent BlackRock CEO Larry Fink a letter stating that BlackRock’s ESG investing violates their laws governing fiduciary duties. According to these AGs, investor returns must be a fiduciary’s sole focus, and BlackRock is sacrificing those returns to advance its “net-zero” carbon emissions agenda.


The AGs’ concerns are not unfounded. BlackRock is a net-zero zealot. Its “Path to Net Zero” website states that “the transition to a net zero world is the shared responsibility of every citizen, corporation, and government” and describes at length BlackRock’s commitment to that transition. But is that commitment really in BlackRock’s clients’ best financial interests?


As John Kerry, President Biden’s climate envoy, stated in a recent interview, some of BlackRock’s clients “want the best return they can get,” and “you don’t get that necessarily from climate” related investments. He’s right, of course. Fink’s own 2022 letter to CEOs conceded that “[w]e need to be honest about the fact that green products often come at a higher cost.” Thanks for the honesty, but you don’t need an accounting degree to know that high-cost/low-return “climate” policies will reduce a company’s profits — and its investors’ returns.


So, perhaps it’s no surprise that, since January of 2022, red-state treasurers in Missouri, South Carolina, Louisiana, Utah, Arkansas, and West Virginia have announced the divestment of over $3 billion in assets from BlackRock’s management because of its ESG and net-zero policies.


Click here to continue reading the full article: https://www.nationalreview.com/2022/11/esg-blackrocks-hard-place/

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