This week activists showed up outside another Larry Fink awards ceremony in New York and at a confusing speech from their Vice Chairman in Washington DC.
The campaign targeting BlackRock is picking up steam across the country, with activists braving New York winter and donning business suits in D.C. to ask tough questions about BlackRock's dominant role in driving the climate crisis.
In New York on Tuesday evening, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink was set to receive an award from former Fed Chair Janet Yellen. To spice up what might have been a pretty dry evening, activists from New York Communities for Change showed up to greet guests on their way into the reception.
Handing out copies of the Yes Men hoax letter which falsely claimed BlackRock was divesting from companies whose business models couldn't be made compliant with the Paris Climate agreement. The Yes Men fooled so much of the media partly because, well, it made sense given how much Fink talks about "purpose". Dozens of copies were taken by guests on their way in.
Then on Thursday, others showed up to hear BlackRock co-founder and Vice Chair Barbara Novick give a presentation in Washington DC, on BlackRock's new slogan "purpose".
Apparently, whether your purpose is saving the world or destroying it, helping people out or dooming the future for everyone, BlackRock's good, as long as the company really feels it. For real, see if you can figure out what the heck this means:
"Companies are needing a clear sense of purpose, in order to achieve profits. It could be the most noxious industry you could come up with, from wherever you stand politically. Are they doing a good job, the best they can, in that industry. That's what we're interested in."
One of our campaigners asked her a very easy question. Institutional investors around the world with $6T in assets are divesting from coal. Given that BlackRock is the world's #1 owner of coal, is there any reason your company wouldn't consider divestment of your active portfolio?
Her response? A bunch of blah blah about how teeny tiny and powerless they are, and how they just have to own everything, and it's just so complicated and they can't divest, silly.
Asked again in the elevator why they can't get out of one of the planet's most troubling and "noxious" industries: "I don't know what you're asking me to do."
This is why we need this campaign!
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