The biggest asset manager warns business leaders: capitalism is about profit, not “political correctness”.

When a man weighs 10,000 billion dollars, we listen to him. And that man is Larry Fink. He is CEO of the American asset manager BlackRock.

Yes, it manages the money that Americans invest in the stock market to ensure their retirement.

And over the years, BlackRock has become one of the three largest shareholders in the CAC 40 and many stock market indices.

For ten years, Larry Fink has been publishing a letter to business leaders to give them his vision of capitalism, the only one that is relevant in his eyes. This letter is public.

Two years ago, it had taken a very interesting turn: it insisted on the importance of the social and environmental responsibility of companies which must take care of their financial success but also of their "stakeholders", namely their employees. , their customers, their suppliers, their environment.

And this year, he confirms that?

Well yes and no. He confirms that non-financial criteria are important. But he reminds us that we must not forget the basis of capitalism: the search for profit and long-term profitability. This is first and foremost the priority of the financial markets.

And to make it quite clear, he drops the buzzword: capitalism is not politics, it is not “woke”, or, said in French, it is not "politically correct". In other words, it is not there to please green or feminist NGOs.

He warns business leaders: “Some political activists, or even some media, are likely to politicize your company's activities. They may seek to instrumentalize your brand to serve their own agenda”. A boss must therefore be clear about his values ​​and unfold his strategy without letting himself be destabilized.

Is it a criticism of NGOs that defend an acceleration of climate transition or gender equality, for example?

It seemed clear. Larry Fink believes that it is not up to NGOs or activists to dictate their strategy to companies or define how quickly they must change. Nor is it up to NGOs to decide whether or not BlackRock should invest in oil or gas. Moreover, he allows himself to continue to do so during the transition.

Which doesn't mean companies shouldn't adapt – and adapt quickly – to climate goals. On the contrary.

Because groups that fall behind in achieving carbon neutrality risk being eliminated by those that are ahead and have the best technologies. But for Larry Fink, it seems that it is up to capitalism to judge, not to civil society.