When it comes to tracing the roots of so-called Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) requirements, all roads lead back to “The Big Three”: Blackrock, Vanguard, and State Street. Together, this triad of financial behemoths own the majority of stock in 88% of the S&P 500 companies; they own at least 5% of 97.5% of all S&P 500 companies. The influence of The Big Three is pervasive and near-omnipotent.
These index funds control about 25% of all stock of every public company in the world. Blackrock manages nearly $10 trillion in assets; Vanguard manages $8 trillion, and State Street has more than $4 trillion — an amount nearly equivalent to the United States GDP, and over three times as much money spent by the United States federal government in all of 2022.
Their agenda is not a hidden secret. Blackrock CEO Larry Fink has on numerous occasions admitted to forcing behaviors based on gender and race, and State Street has demanded companies disclose the diversity data of their employees. If companies refuse, State Street has promised to vote against investing in them.
This dynamic of consolidated power leads to less market competition. It also allows The Big Three to demand ESG and DEI standards in the marketplace. Conform to their social agenda…or else.
Take, for example, energy giant Exxon Mobil: last year, Blackrock, Vanguard, and State Street all supported the replacement of certain Exxon Mobil board members who opposed climate change initiatives. They were replaced with people who promised to make climate change a priority. Similar efforts have been made by Blackrock and State Street to punish the Walmart Board of Directors if they do not adopt similar climate and diversity standards.
The stranglehold of The Big Three isn’t limited to the corporate world; they’ve begun to extend their influence to governments as well. Blackrock has already invested hundreds of millions in climate initiatives in third-world countries, making them beholden to the financial giant.
Blackrock has likewise pressed its climate and ESG initiatives beyond the third world. Their tentacles recently penetrated New Zealand. The country partnered with Blackrock to ensure a 100% renewable electricity power grid, leaving tens of thousands out of work with new fossil fuel standards ending their occupations, despite the country already running on 82% renewable energy from hydroelectric dams.
Blackrock, Vanguard, and State Street not only have an exorbitant amount of power over global markets, but also global culture. Curtailing their reach will require financial and grassroots pushback. Otherwise, their aggressive agendas won’t end with ESG and DEI; they’ll only have just begun.