“We also see many governments failing to prepare for the future, on issues ranging from retirement and infrastructure to automation and worker retraining. As a result, society increasingly is turning to the private sector and asking that companies respond to broader societal challenges. Indeed, the public expectations of your company have never been greater. Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose. To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.” Larry Fink, BlackRock CEO’s 2018 Letter, A Sense of Purpose
SUMMARY OF PROGRAM
BlackRock is the largest asset manager in the world, with over $6.2 trillion in assets. This year BlackRock’s CEO Larry Fink sent a clear message to companies–invest in society or risk losing BlackRock’s support. Larry Fink’s 2018 Letter entitled A Sense of Purpose makes it clear that companies have a responsibility to invest in society. The letter has been described as a “watershed” moment for sustainable investing and has inspired an initiative at Berkeley Law aimed at examining the opportunities and hurdles for both BlackRock and the companies in which it invests to fulfilling the commitments to long-termism and sound corporate governance articulated in the letter.
Several weeks before our inaugural symposium, we will circulate a brief issue paper that will identify key areas for debate and discussion, such as:
- What are the characteristics of a successful engagement strategy with investors?
- How will BlackRock support a company that is under attack by an activist investor focused on the short-term?
- What is the role of the board and is the concept of a monitoring board inconsistent with the demands of this new paradigm?
- What is the ideal internal governance of sustainability?
We will then convene a small group comprised of representatives from BlackRock and other leaders in the investment community, corporate executives, and academics.
Agenda & Logistics
You can access the agenda here.
You can access logistical details here.
BlackRock representatives, investors, corporate executives, general counsel, and academics with expertise in ESG
A small seminar (30 participants)
November 8th, 8:30am-3pm (convening)
California Memorial Stadium, UC Berkeley, California
To discuss the opportunities and barriers for companies to invest in long-term sustainability
Participation is by invitation only, for more information please email BISI@law.berkeley.edu.