BlackRock’s Larry Fink says company’s investment policies are not discriminatory

Photo of BlackRock’s Chairman and CEO, Larry Fink


“BlackRock has never supported divesting from traditional energy firms.”

That’s the claim BlackRock’s Larry Fink made in his annual letter to employees as the company fights claims in Oklahoma and other oil and gas producing states that the firm’s ESG policies are discriminatory. Entitled “Time to Rethink Retirement,” the lengthy letter included Fink’s comments about energy development around the world.

“The energy market isn’t divided the way some people think, with a hard split between oil & gas producers on one side and new clean power and climate tech firms on the other. Many companies, like Occidental, do both, which is a major reason BlackRock has never supported divesting from traditional energy firms. They’re pioneers of decarbonization, too.”

His contention comes as BlackRock remains banned from handling investments by state agencies and pension systems in Oklahoma. Last week, a Texas education pension system announced it was pulling $8.5 billion in investments from BlackRock because of its discrimination of the oil and gas industry

As OK Energy Today reported earlier this year, BlackRock indeed has investments in several state oil an gas firms in Oklahoma, despite being restricted by the State Treasurer.

Fink told employees the firm has more than $300 billion invested in traditional energy firms on “behalf of our clients” and more than half, or $170 billion, is in the U.S.

“We invest in these energy companies for one simple reason: It’s our clients’ money. If they want to invest in hydrocarbons, we give them every opportunity to do it – the same way we invest roughly $138 billion in energy transition strategies for our clients. That’s part of being an asset manager. We follow our clients’ mandates.”

Fink said he visited 17 countries last year and spent a lot of time talking to people who are responsible for powering homes and businesses.

“The message I heard was completely opposite to what you often hear from activists on the far left and right, who say that countries have to choose between renewables and oil and gas. These leaders believe that the world still needs both. They were far more pragmatic about energy than dogmatic,” he wrote.

“Even the most climate conscious among them saw that their long-term path to decarbonization will include hydrocarbons, albeit it less of them, for some time to come.”

The head of the world’s largest investment firm called Germany a good example of how energy pragmatism is still a path to decarbonization. While describing it as one of the countries most committed to fighting climate change, he admitted the wind doesn’t blow in Berlin and the sun doesn’t shine in Munich. As a result, Germany will still rely on natural gas.