BlackRock CEO, Laurence Fink is taking the radical step of applying a social good filter to their investment…

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BlackRock CEO, Laurence Fink is taking the radical step of applying a social good filter to their investment selection processes:

“Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose,” he wrote in a draft of the letter that was shared with me. “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

Why, and why now? Because he perceives that governments are not adequately looking after the common good:

In a candid assessment of what’s happening in the business world — and perhaps taking a veiled shot at Washington at the same time — Mr. Fink wrote that he is seeing “many governments failing to prepare for the future, on issues ranging from retirement and infrastructure to automation and worker retraining.” He added, “As a result, society increasingly is turning to the private sector and asking that companies respond to broader societal challenges.”

Wow, I’m just not sure whether to be happy or sad about this. OK. I’m happy. It’s good to see a company like this signaling that there is more than just the unrelenting quest for profits.

It will be very interesting to see how they actually assess social impact.

HT Alex Steffen (over on Twitter)


  1. The SF book Rule 34 suggested that this would become a requirement for incorporation someday. – Rule 34 (novel) – Wikipedia

  2. New paradigm in business or new kind of social washing?

  3. I like the idea of companies having, and living up to, a moral compass compatible with the better ideals and philosophies of our nation. A related, open question: if corporations paid in full each year the taxes they owe the nation that made their existence possible, would we still need to hope that they might contribute a social purpose, or would their return of some of their windfall to the public trust suffice?

  4. Michael Verona, yes, that’s a key question.

  5. Surely a futurist has written of a scenario in which corporations take on the role of government. Eg, paying for a Google account gets me an email address, allotment of clean water, limited internet connection, a bundle of vaccines, etc. And I think London actually started as a corporation of a sort, right? Not saying that would be good but…

  6. This mindfulness is long overdue

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