Chris Sacca calls out BlackRock

Chris Sacca's tweet came within moments of a risk alert from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A celebrity venture capitalist is calling out one of private equity’s titans for greenwashing.

In an April 9 tweet, Chris Sacca said he was “excited to study” BlackRock’s “huge new ‘Carbon Transition Readiness’ fund” to see if the firm had come with “any creative ideas for deploying climate crisis capital.”

“Nuclear fuel?” Sacca asked. “Enzymatic chemicals? Biophysics breakthroughs? Oh, never mind…”

Beneath the lament, Sacca attached a screenshot of the fund’s holdings. It showed investments in established tech firms (Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Facebook), in other investment houses (Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase), one in Medtronic and another in Tesla. Many critics have accused Tesla and its founder, Elon Musk, of greenwashing. Tesla makes electric cars, but it also invests in Bitcoin, which has a carbon footprint of 1.8 million gas-fueled cars.

Risk alert

Sacca, who’s known as the “Venture Cowboy” for the shirts he wears, is managing partner and co-founder of Lowercarbon Capital. It’s a venture capital fund that, in its own words on its website: “backs kickass companies that make real money slashing CO2 emissions, sucking carbon out of the sky, and buying us time to unf**k the planet.” Sacca is also a former panelist on ABC’s Shark Tank.

Partners listed at Lowercarbon include Sacca and his wife Crystal, as well as third partner Clay Dumas. All three were previously at the Sacca-led firm Lowercase Capital, which built a portfolio that included Twitter, Uber, Instagram, Twilio, Docker, Optimizely, Blue Bottle Coffee and Stripe.

Unlike Lowercase, the new Lowercarbon fund is reportedly structured as a family office, with no outside institutional backing.

Sacca’s tweet regarding BlackRock might ordinarily be chalked up to a low-level dustup. But it came within hours of the SEC issuing its first-ever risk alert on ESG disclosures. The alert found that portfolio managers routinely struggled to line up sustainable words with sustainable deeds.

Meanwhile, the SEC and the Biden Administration have promised to make climate risk their top policy priority.

Neither Sacca nor BlackRock responded to requests for comment.

This article first appeared in affiliate publication Regulatory Compliance Watch