Activist investor Bluebell Capital called for BlackRock CEO Larry Fink to step down Wednesday, saying the company is not truly committed to environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments, according to a letter from Bluebell Capital obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Bluebell Capital, an activist fund with a small stake in BlackRock, accused Fink of “greenwashing“ or deceiving investors who seek ESG investments, further saying Fink did not fulfill a promise to exit thermal coal investments, according to the letter. Fink has been a proponent of ESG investing, which has led many Republican states to pull funding or ban BlackRock investments over their “anti-fossil fuels” stance.
“As shareholder in BlackRock, we are increasingly concerned about the reputational risk (including greenwashing risk) to which you have unreasonably exposed the company potentially fueling a gap between the ‘talk’ and the ‘walk’ on ESG investing; and the backlash caused by BlackRock’s ESG strategy which has alienated clients and attracted an undesired level of negative publicity,” Bluebell Capital wrote in the letter.
“We see BlackRock endorsing a number of bad practices from a governance, social and environmental perspective which is not actually in tune with what they say,” partner and co-founder of Bluebell Capital Giuseppe Bivona told CNBC Wednesday. (RELATED: The Biden Admin Just Made Woke Investing Even Easier)
BlackRock has claimed to be committed to helping the world reach “net-zero emissions” by 2050, and hopes to work toward minimizing “investment risk” that could result from climate change. Many states have pulled funds from BlackRock in response to this goal, with Florida pulling $2 billion, Louisiana pulling $560 million, Texas banning the firm and Republican treasuries pulling $1 billion.
Bluebell Capital suggested that BlackRock has “politicized the ESG debate,” claiming that the company’s public advocacy for ESG resulted in Republican-controlled states removing assets from BlackRock as a form of protest, according to the letter.
Texas was the first state to ban BlackRock from doing business with our state.
I signed a law in 2021 to ban financial companies that have ESG policies that discriminate against the oil & gas sector.
That includes BlackRock and several other financial companies. https://t.co/AkXMYfAShh
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) December 1, 2022
“In the past 18 months, Bluebell has waged a number of campaigns to promote their climate and governance agenda,” BlackRock said to CNBC Wednesday in response statement. “BlackRock Investment Stewardship did not support their campaigns as we did not consider them to be in the best economic interests of our clients.”
“Let me say that when the price of coal was around $76 per ton, BlackRock was talking about essentially divesting. Now that the price of coal is $380 per ton, they are talking about responsible ownership. I think there is a high correlation between BlackRock’s strategy on coal and the price of coal,” Bivona continued.
BlackRock did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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