Blackrock is a giant company.
They own a lot of money. They use the money to make more money. They’re good at it.
Whilst good at making money they also talk a lot about ‘ social purpose’. CEO Larry Fink has written about it.
Yet, while he writes, Larry also owns more coal fired power stations than anyone in the world.
This looks like double standards. It looks like a company saying one thing and doing another. It looks like a company dancing on the wrong side of tomorrow. And how things look is important.
The benefits of giving Larry your money have been positive. Big returns, your money turning into more money. This is the story their clients like.
Clients like Yale, Harvard, Princeton. Countries too. Not many clients, all told - but all trusting Larry to turn their very considerable endowments and wealth funds into ever bigger funds.
The story these guys, in turn, tell is important too.
Everything we buy we buy to tell a story of who we are. This is true for purchases large or small. The bike we ride or car we drive or don’t drive. It’s true for the University we ‘buy’ . We buy a Harvard education because it represents an idea, a story we seek to tell. A story of excellence, of superiority, of being the best.
But this story is subject to forces far and wide.
The response to Larry and his seeming double standards was low key.
Change will not happen by throwing press releases at the companies and organisations we seek to change. or by signing petitions.
They’re bigger than you. Louder. They have more tools, power and microphones. They’re sitting behind sound proof glass.
David didn’t shout Goliath into submission. He found the weakness and ruthlessly went for it.
Blackrock doesn’t care what Friends of the Earth says. It cares what its investors, its clients, think. Like Harvard.
In turn, Harvard is aware of the story their ‘clients’ tell. Clients who buy the story the institution represents.
But all marketplaces are shifting, including the universities. Their story will continue to change and evolve. Even a story which is hundreds of years old. Competition is growing. New factors inform decisions.
The story Harvard tells needs to remain relevant.
Stories like Harvard gives Larry the money to buy his coal.
What cost of six or 12 months of relentless, ruthless campaigning, embedding this new story into the hearts and minds of even of a fraction of Harvard’s prospective students?
You don’t change Blackrock by shouting at them. You change Blackrock by seeking out its weaknesses, its vulnerabilities. In this case, its clients. And, in turn, you seek to influence their clients by challenging the story they tell.
This is targeted, strategic direct campaigning activism for the 21st century. One company, one target, one at a time. Ruthlessly focused and consistently delivered.
Be more David.