BlackRock's Larry Fink says the next 1,000 unicorns will be sustainable companies that make energy affordable — not more search engines or social-media titans

BlackRock's Larry Fink says the next 1,000 unicorns will be sustainable companies that make energy affordable — not more search engines or social-media titans
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink.CNBC/Contributor/Getty Images
  • BlackRock's Larry Fink wrote about the importance of sustainability in his 2022 letter to CEOs.
  • He said the next 1,000 unicorns will be startups that help decarbonize the economy — not social-media titans.

The US is beginning its transition to a green economy, and the CEO of a $10 trillion company said businesses need to play their part in fighting the climate crisis.

Larry Fink, the CEO of investment corporation BlackRock, released his 2022 letter to CEOs on Monday, in which he highlighted the role capitalism plays in the economy now and in the future — and combatting the climate crisis is a big part of that. Fink said that the next 1,000 unicorns — startups with a valuation over $1 billion — won't be more search engines or social media companies, but rather ones "that help the world decarbonize and make the energy transition affordable for all consumers."

"We need to be honest about the fact that green products often come at a higher cost today," Fink said. "Bringing down this green premium will be essential for an orderly and just transition. With the unprecedented amount of capital looking for new ideas, incumbents need to be clear about their pathway succeeding in a net zero economy. And it's not just startups that can and will disrupt industries. Bold incumbents can and must do it too."

The disruption Fink referred to is one that is not only on businesses' minds — President Joe Biden's administration has begun preparing for risks associated with the transition to a carbon-free economy. Insider reported in November that transitioning to a green economy poses two risks to Americans: a physical risk, referring to climate events that could damage infrastructure, and a transition risk, referring to costs incurred during the shift away from investments in carbon-focused economies like coal infrastructure toward clean energy, like wind and solar.

Biden unveiled a plan in October outlining strategies to protect Americans' retirements and savings from those risks — one of which included disclosing climate-related financial risks in investment decisions, which Fink recommended businesses do.


"We focus on sustainability not because we're environmentalists, but because we are capitalists and fiduciaries to our clients," Fink said. "That requires understanding how companies are adjusting their businesses for the massive changes the economy is undergoing."

Still, even if companies do increasingly focus on decisions to help the climate, meeting Biden's goal to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 requires government aid. The president proposed a $555 billion investment in his Build Back Better agenda to meet his climate goals, but that agenda is currently stalled in the Senate, jeopardizing progress in transitioning to a green economy.

Fink said government aid is vital.

"Capitalism has the power to shape society and act as a powerful catalyst for change," he said. "But businesses can't do this alone, and they cannot be the climate police. That will not be a good outcome for society. We need governments to provide clear pathways and a consistent taxonomy for sustainability policy, regulation, and disclosure across markets."