“Mr. Fink, so nice to meet you at last,” Scrooge gushed. “We have so much in common…the love of amassing wealth! I say, let the suckers and the losers fall where they may just so long as our coffers continue to grow fat, eh Fink!”
“Ah, the infamous Mr. Scrooge,” Fink replied. “Yes, I’ve spent my entire career making money for others and have been paid handsomely to do so. But the world is a different place than it was in your day, Ebenezer. On this crowded planet in the 21st century, I’ve come to realize that my investors can do well financially while also doing good for society and the environment as well.”
“Heresy!” Scrooge retorted. “Don’t tell me you’ve gone soft Fink. It’s profits above all else, I say!”
“On the contrary, my dear Mr. Scrooge. These days the prudent investor understands that to prosper over time every company must also make positive contributions to society. Without a thriving, healthy society and a sustainable environment long term profitability will suffer,” Fink countered.
To further illustrate his point, Mr. Fink went on to relate a story about BlackRock’s recent influence over ExxonMobil, one of the five richest oil companies in the world. Shareholders wanted Exxon to come clean about the climate change impact research it had completed. But Exxon executives weren’t eager fully disclosed the bad news.
With pressure from BlackRock the oil giant eventually relented and released the climate report. It was only fair to let shareholders understand the long-term risks the industry was imposing on the environment. Now, with that information societies could better understand and respond to the challenges climate change brings. And Exxon’s shareholders could also make smart financial decisions about the company’s future profitability in the petroleum industry.
“It’s a new reality Mr. Scrooge; we can do well by doing good,” Mr. Fink concluded. “After all, this pale blue planet and each other are all we have. And this is the only home we’ll ever know. We’re here forever…Earthbound.”