BlackRock chief executive Larry Fink will no longer use ESG to describe environmental, social and corporate governance issues, as the battle over the term and the investment practice it refers to becomes increasingly toxic in the US.

Speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival conference on Sunday (25 June), Fink, who is also chairman of BlackRock, said: "I do not use the word ESG any more, because it's been entirely weaponised ... by the far left and weaponised by the far right."

However, he noted that dropping references to ESG would not change BlackRock's stance, adding that the asset manager would continue to talk to companies it has stakes in about decarbonisation, corporate governance and social issues to be addressed.

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The CEO said he had never intended for his closely scrutinised annual letters to be political. In his 2023 annual letter to investors published in March, Fink said: "As minority shareholders, it is not our place to be telling companies what to do.

"As I have said consistently over many years now, it is for governments to make policy and enact legislation, and not for companies, including asset managers, to be the environmental police."

Fink also said it is not the role of asset managers to "engineer a particular outcome in the economy" amid the increasing politicisation of ESG investing in the US.

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BlackRock has suffered a backlash in the US from some Republican politicians, who have claimed ESG is a way for executives to drive through what they argue amount to politically liberal policies.

The furore has cost the asset manager about $4bn in managed assets, with some Republican-led states pulling their funds, although this amounts to a small slice of its $9trn in assets under management.