“BlackRock is accused of “leftism” by the US Republican camp”

PIt’s easy to be the world’s leading financial investor. Often demonized as the most powerful representative of globalized capitalism, insensitive to ecological and social emergencies, BlackRock is today, on the contrary, accused of “leftism” by the US Republican camp. In their incessant crusade against “wokism”, that rereading of history through the prism of social justice and racial equality, very present on the American left, they have found a new target, “woke capitalism”.

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On Tuesday, June 14, the banking committee of the US Senate was going to start listening to very large management funds such as Vanguard, State Street or BlackRock, about the way they vote in the general meetings of the companies in which they are shareholders. that is, almost all the main listed companies in the country. Senators criticize them for promoting their thesis in favor of the environment, social issues or governability.

Weakness

Behind this offensive lies a large-scale attack on ESG (environmental, social, governance) criteria, an ethical segment of finance that BlackRock CEO Larry Fink enthusiastically promotes each year in his letter to investors. . Today it is one of the most dynamic areas that would represent, according to Bloomberg, nearly 40,000 million dollars (about 38,230 million euros) invested in the world. The most enraged Republicans, especially those from oil or coal states, accuse them of boycotting fossil fuel companies in their territory. “It is no longer capitalism, it is market abuse”exclaimed Ted Cruz, a senator from Texas. An attack that is redoubled at a time when fossil companies see their stock prices skyrocket due to rising prices, when specialists in renewable energies are having a hard time.

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“Leftist” Larry Fink, with his good feelings, had to put water in his wine lest he be accused of harming the investor clients who trust him with their savings. Therefore, he ensured that they could vote themselves if they didn’t want BlackRock to do it for them. He also sent a letter to Texas elected officials assuring that he will continue to invest in the state’s oil companies.

This case illustrates both the extension of the American political debate to business, and the malaise surrounding responsible finance and these famous ESG criteria, the outlines of which are too vague to be entirely credible. However, the climate crisis urgently calls for long-term financial commitments based on harmonized and indisputable criteria, including by politicians.

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