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October 20, 2023

Editor’s note: corporate governance in the UK, and Fink on Starmer

Larry Fink, BlackRock CEO
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink says Labour leader Keir Starmer has shown ‘real strength’ in turning the party towards the centre after its previous ‘Marxist’ tendencies (Photo: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg)

The latest edition of our Sustainable Views newsletter

Dear reader,

Let’s wrap up the week with our most-read articles, plus a suggestion from the team, below – and our usual ESG policy news briefing. 

We have interesting updates from all over the world – from Singapore, China, Japan, to the US and back here, in Europe, where the EU has had a particularly prolific week, and the UK has raised a few eyebrows.

On Monday, the British government withdrew corporate governance draft rules after consulting with businesses, which, it says, were concerned about a greater reporting burden. (You’ll find a summary of what these would have entailed in our piece.)

A sustainability consultant I spoke to was disheartened by the news. I wish I could translate into a quote her physical reaction: hands thrown up in the air, dispiritingly reclining back into the chair.

Do any of you share this feeling? Let me know.

There are others, however, who are feeling a bit more optimistic about the UK. In a podcast interview with the Wall Street Journal, BlackRock boss Larry Fink said Labour party leader Keir Starmer has shown “real strength” in turning the party towards the centre after its previous “Marxist” tendencies.

Fink also praised Conservative prime minister Rishi Sunak, however, and his decision to water down some green targets. “In the UK, they weren’t going ever to meet those targets … so [Sunak] rolled back to some more sensibility.” 

But the CEO of the world’s largest asset manager also added: “Let me be clear … I cannot win a piece of business in Europe today unless I have some lens on decarbonization.”

Perhaps this is a good reflection to take with us into the weekend: ambitious targets may backfire, though net zero remains the ultimate objective. 

Here is also a question: are mild, uncontroversial plans going to help any of us dealing with the climate crisis?

Until Monday,

Silvia

Silvia Pavoni is the editor of Sustainable Views

 

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Spotlight: California’s Gavin Newsom zooms in on climate policy

A service from the Financial Times