Green investing ‘is definitely not going to work’, says ex-BlackRock executive

Tariq Fancy once oversaw the start of the biggest effort to turn Wall Street ‘green’ – but now believes the climate crisis can never be solved by today’s free markets

By Dominic Rushe

From his desk in midtown Manhattan Tariq Fancy once oversaw the beginning of arguably the biggest, most ambitious, effort ever to turn Wall Street “green”. Now, as environmentally friendly investing grows at an exponential rate, Fancy has come to a stark conclusion: “This is definitely not going to work.”

As the former chief investment officer for sustainable investing at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, Fancy was charged with embedding environmental, social and governance (ESG) corporate policies across the investment giant’s portfolio.

Fancy was a leader in a movement that has given many people, including investors, activists and academics, hope that after years of backing polluters, Wall Street was finally stepping up to confront the climate crisis.

“I have looked inside the machine and I can tell you business does not have this,” Tariq told the Guardian. “Not because these are bad people but because they run for-profit machines that will operate exactly as you would expect them to do,” said Fancy.

Fancy, 42, worked for BlackRock between 2018 and 2019 and was the investor’s chief investment officer for sustainable investing at a time when BlackRock was preparing to announce a major shift in strategy.

“The evidence on climate risk is compelling investors to reassess core assumptions about modern finance,” the BlackRock chairman, Larry Fink, wrote in his highly influential annual letter to CEOs in 2020, shortly after Fancy’s departure. “In the near future – and sooner than most anticipate – there will be a significant reallocation of capital.”

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