- Larry Fink, the CEO of the world’s largest money manager, Blackrock is called out for their poor contribution to environmental goals.
- BlackRock’s anti-resolution attitude must change if they are to have any credibility as a responsible investor.
- BlackRock holds significant positions in carbon intensive companies in emerging markets, like Sasol Limited.
BlackRock, Inc. is a global investment management corporation based in New York City. Founded in 1988, initially as a risk management and fixed income institutional asset manager, BlackRock is today the world’s largest asset manager with $6.29 trillion in assets under management as of December 2017.
South African shareholder activism and responsible investment organisation, Just Share, is one of 12 leading investors and shareholder advocacy groups from around the globe that have called on the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, to vastly improve its climate engagements. This is in anticipation of Blackrock’s CEO’s yearly letter to companies reminding them of their need to address global strategic challenges and deliver long-term value for shareholders and society.
Trillium Asset Management, Boston Common Asset Management, and Ethos Fund join 9 NGOs, including ShareAction, ClientEarth, and South Africa’s Just Share, in writing to Larry Fink, the CEO of the world’s largest money manager. The letter calls out the fund manager for its own poor contribution to environmental goals, especially in light of growing urgency to tackle the risk of climate change to the global economy.
Tracey Davies executive director, Just Share, said: “BlackRock holds significant positions in carbon intensive companies in emerging markets, like Sasol Limited”. These companies are often overlooked by progressive global institutional investors. In South Africa, which is one of the world’s biggest carbon emitters, and where local institutional investors are failing to tackle climate risk, the example set by BlackRock will have a significant impact on actions taken by other investors.”
BlackRock consistently votes against shareholder climate proposals and has a worse track record than other large global asset managers, the letter states. This is despite BlackRock claiming in 2018 that it has included “climate risk as one of [its]engagement priorities” and the ongoing failure of most high carbon companies to implement business strategies compliant with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement.
Brynn O’Brien, Executive Director, Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said: “Many institutional investors, including major BlackRock clients, are getting serious about voting their shares on climate change issues. Last year Australian investors made history, with 46% voting in favour of our shareholder resolution challenging fossil fuels lobbying at Origin Energy. BlackRock, however, voted its shares against that resolution and has not offered an explanation as to why.
“BlackRock’s anti-resolution attitude must change if they are to have any credibility as a responsible investor. Larry Fink can write as many letters as he likes, but until those words are backed up by transparent action, BlackRock should be considered part of the problem.”
Author: Bryan Groenendaal