Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Florida pulls $2B worth of investments from BlackRock over ESG investment after DeSantis resolution

By Chloe Folmar

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced on Thursday that the state’s government would divest $2 billion in investments under management by financial services company BlackRock due to the organization’s strengthening Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) standards.

“Whether stakeholder capitalism, or ESG standards, are being pushed by BlackRock for ideological reasons, or to develop social credit ratings, the effect is to avoid dealing with the messiness of democracy,” wrote Patronis in a statement.

“I think it’s undemocratic of major asset managers to use their power to influence societal outcomes.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in August pushed through a resolution calling for the state to stop investing with ESG due to their “ideological agenda.”

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink released an open letter in January outlining the company’s increasing support for “stakeholder capitalism,” where the asset manager is able to choose clients in a socially conscious manner.

“Stakeholder capitalism is not about politics. It is not a social or ideological agenda. It is not ‘woke,’” Fink claimed in his letter.

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