The anti-woke asset management firm Strive is taking on the likes of BlackRock to “depoliticize corporate America” so consumers can embrace commerce without compromising their values, Strive’s Head of Corporate Governance Justin Danhof says.
In an exclusive interview with SiriusXM Patriot’s Breitbart News Daily, Danhof detailed how the “Big Three” asset management firms in the United States — BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard — are using their trillion-dollar leverage to impose woke policies on the corporations they hold large stakes in.
Strive, Danhof said, has launched to tackle the Big Three’s grip on the asset management industry with a goal to end what he calls “an ideological cartel” in corporate America.
“We’re a new asset manager that has … just this new ambitious idea of taking on the behemoth Big Three which is BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard that really acts as an ideological cartel these days,” Danhof said of Strive. “You could almost think of them as a monarchy of sorts you know, 250 years after we dusted off the British, we’re fighting a new monarchy again.”
“These three asset managers control $22 trillion in asset fund management. And so, if you think about that … that’s greater than the GDP of the United States of America,” Danhof explained. “And what do they do with that money? Well, they use their shareholder vote and their advocacy, that is their engagement with business, to affect culture in ways that most Americans disagree with.”
Danhof said environmental, social, and governance — known as ESG — is driving asset management firms to pressure corporations on a swath of left-wing issues.
“They use that $22 trillion in assets because they are upstream from American businesses to tell American businesses how to act,” Danhof said. “In a very large sense, what your audience sees every day with actions by Bank of America debanking gun clients or Nike pulling a Betsy Ross tribute shoe or Chevron and Exxon, for example, canceling energy projects here in the United States and abroad, a lot of the times you can actually point upstream and see that the largest shareholders of these companies are actually pressuring them to take these actions that are, again, going against the will of not only everyday citizens … but very often the folks who have their hard-earned money … with BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard.” [Emphasis added]
Most crippled by ESG, Danhof said, is the American energy sector. In response, Strive launched its first product on the New York Stock Exchange — $DRLL.
“We’re going to use our voice and our vote to engage with corporate America to say ‘Hey, why don’t you focus on making excellent products and services for your customers and let culture warriors fight the culture, let politicians battle in the political arena where they are accountable to everyday citizens for that type of vote,’” Danhof said.
“Our first product is an exchange-traded fund, an ETF, and the ticker symbol is $DRLL. And it won’t surprise you to know that this is an energy product,” Danhof said. “We think that under the guise of ESG, there has been no sector that has been harmed more by this push for stakeholder capitalism ESG than the U.S. energy sector.”
“When you look at the fact that last year, three climate change dissidents were voted onto Exxon Mobile’s board of directors, when you look at the Chevron annual shareholder meeting that took place in 2021 and more than 60 percent of the shareholders voted for Chevron to decrease its scope of reemissions … which is every single thing that Chevron does … and these are supported by the Big Three — Blackrock, State Street, and Vanguard,” he continued.
“This is truly a shackle on the American energy industry that I think a lot of everyday Americans overlook that aspect of why they’re paying so much at the pump,” Danhof said. “And so we’re going to use $DRLL to educate everyday Americans as to part of the problem being this upstream shackle that is going on by the largest asset managers in the United States to the companies that they’re invested in — Chevron, Conoco, Valero.”
Danhof said the climate change activism of BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard is most hypocritical in the energy sector because for every project abandoned by an American energy company, another foreign-owned company is likely to pick up.
“BlackRock is one of the largest investors in a company that is poised to pick up any projects that an American company might abandon and that company just so happens to be PetroChina where BlackRock is the largest outside … one of the largest [investors],” Danhof said. “And so they’re taking from the left hand and giving to the right hand.”
The left-wing pressure on companies comes from all industries, Danhof explained, including the nation’s biggest banks.
“Part of it is also a sideways attack because there are also a lot of shareholder proposals put forward to financing companies — such as JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America — that are telling them that they must align their financing with the goals of the Paris Climate Accord,” Danhof said. “And in many cases, these corporations are agreeing to that.”
“Berkshire Hathaway this year, thankfully they voted it down, there was a shareholder resolution to say that you must align your insurance underwriting with goals of the Paris Climate Accord,” he continued.
“Now guess where that resolution actually passed — was at the Travelers Insurance Companies annual shareholder meeting this past year,” Danhof said. “… [I]f the energy sector can’t get financing and they can’t get insurance and their largest shareholders are shackling them, there’s a lot of real fear in that industry.”
Danhof said Strive is “here to be a different voice and say ‘Be not afraid … this monolithic boom that you’ve heard for so long, we’ve got another voice and we’ve got another vision for your sector.’”
“We’re forging a new path to try and depoliticize corporate America by using a different voice and vote than the current ideological cartel,” he said. “… [T]here are lots of voices that are now willing to speak up against this elite ruling class that is trying to dictate decision making through this stakeholder capitalism paradigm.”
BlackRock, in particular, has become a fixture of woke capitalism.
In February, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink urged corporate leaders to pursue a climate change agenda. Strive Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Vivek Ramaswamy blasted Fink.
“[Fink] should be honest about whether he wants BlackRock’s portfolio companies to pursue their own corporate purposes or the purposes that BlackRock favors,” Ramaswamy wrote in an op-ed.
Last year, BlackRock faced protests from Alabama, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia coal miners after Warrior Met Coal, whose biggest shareholder is BlackRock, failed to deliver a better union contract after years of workers accepting pay cuts and dwindled benefits.
Aside from their left-wing agendas, the largest asset management firms often deploy business practices aligned with their globalist worldview. In 2020, for instance, the Vanguard Group announced that it was laying off about 1,300 American IT workers and sending their jobs to the India-based outsourcing firm Infosys.
Vanguard had previously outsourced American jobs to the India-based Tata Consulting Services which, like Infosys, imports large numbers of H-1B foreign visa workers to take IT jobs before eventually outsourcing the job to India altogether.
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John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter here.