FAIRR calls for fast-food companies to cut climate risk; extreme weather concerns take centre stage at Davos; Canary Wharf, Marks & Spencer, and Nestlé latest companies to join war on plastic in Oliver Balch’s latest sustainability news roundup
The idea of Larry Fink penning an end-of-year note to the companies in BlackRock’s portfolios is nothing new. He has been doing it for eons. But no one took much notice until last year, when the founder and chief executive of the world’s largest asset manager called on corporate leaders to ensure their firms had a social purpose. This year’s much-anticipated open letter continued with the theme, arguing that "profits and purpose are inextricably linked". When you’re sitting on $6.3tr in assets, people sit up and listen. But, as Fink is now finding out, they also ask questions.
Last month, prior to the release of his latest letter, a group of ethical investors and shareholder activists issued a missive of their own. In it the alliance – which counts Trillium Asset Management, Boston Common Asset Management and ShareAction among its number – called on BlackRock to close the “gap between rhetoric and reality” and to give greater consideration to the environmental impacts of the companies in which it invests. The backlash was, seemingly, anticipated.
Barely had the campaigners posted their letter than BlackRock was knocking on the door of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, announcing its...