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Larry Fink: BlackRock is not the 'environmental police'

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Asset managers like BlackRock are not «the environmental police,» Larry Fink said in his annual chairman's letter to investors, which was published on Wednesday. «As I have said consistently over many years now, it is for governments to make policy and enact legislation, and not for companies, including asset managers, to be the environmental police,» Fink wrote.

But BlackRock takes its role as a fiduciary for clients incredibly seriously, the letter makes clear. Doing that job well requires BlackRock to monitor the risk climate change poses to financial assets. «Investing for the long term requires taking a long-term view of what will impact returns, including demographics, government policy, technological advancements, and the transition to a low-carbon economy,» Fink wrote. «For years now, we have viewed climate risk as an investment risk.

That's still the case,» Fink said. Fink has become a target for Republican lawmakers who view environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing as a proxy for financiers impressing their political viewpoints.

For instance, in Aug. 2022, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar targeted BlackRock, putting the asset manager on a list of financial companies that «boycott energy companies.» In his annual letter, Fink highlighted the ways that climate change is already impacting financial markets and the economy. «Anyone can see the impact of climate change in the natural disasters in California or Florida, in Pakistan, across Europe and Australia, and in many other places around the world.

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