Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

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Business Must Serve a Social Purpose

Larry Fink

Larry Fink

Black Rock CEO stresses positive contributions to society

Today’s announcement from Laurence D. Fink, founder and chief executive of the investment firm BlackRock, that the firm intends to support only companies that “serve a social purpose” brings business ethics to the forefront on Wall Street.  “To prosper over time,” he wrote in a draft letter to CEOs of the world’s largest companies, “every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

Michelle Edkins, managing director at BlackRock, will be discussing how some of these ideas play out in the realm of diversity and governance, in a talk for the Ethics Center this Thursday, January 18, at 4 p.m., on the Santa Clara University campus.  Edkins will give an investor’s perspective on how director diversity, visible and invisible, contribute to better decisions and resilient governance.  The program will be livestreamed.

Fink’s critique of a purely financial corporate view of value creation was cited in a commentary by Center Leadership Ethics Director Ann Skeet on the need for corporate leaders “to protect the interests of important stakeholders in addition to shareholders.”

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Jan 16, 2018

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