By one estimate, there’s about eighty trillion dollars of money on the planet. If that’s correct, then BlackRock’s holding of seven trillion dollars means that nearly a dime of every dollar rests in its digital files, mostly in the form of stocks it invests in for pension funds and the like. So when BlackRock’s C.E.O., Larry Fink, devoted his annual letter to investors to explaining that climate change has now put us “on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance,” it marked a watershed moment in climate history.
He’s right about the financial future, of course—one can’t look at the clouds of smoke now obscuring the Australian continent and come away thinking that we can maintain our present course. But anyone paying attention—which includes investment-fund C.E.O.s—has known the score for years. What’s changed now are a couple of factors.
This is impressive, and Larry Fink is completely right. “Climate risk is investment risk,” as he states in his letter. If we don’t start acting right now — we might not have an opportunity later. It begins here, with the reshaping of how we invest. Taming the river of money, will make considerable waves in the future.
It wasn’t that long ago that CEO’s and leaders from blue-chip giants of the Business Roundtable were meeting to redefine the responsibility companies should play in society. There’s serious momentum, for the first time in nearly a century to re-think and re-model companies, businesses, and Wall Street — from the top-down. We’re entering an era where leadership is finally understanding just how important it is to put money where it matters most: engaging on middle-class wealth, diversity/inclusion and perhaps most importantly, environmental protection.