BlackRock to Clients: Navigating Climate Transition is the New Standard - BlackRock's Big Problem


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    BlackRock to Clients: Navigating Climate Transition is the New Standard

    A key statement BlackRock makes is that the question is no longer whether a transition to a decarbonized economy will happen, but how.

    New York, Feb 3rd, 2022 – Today, BlackRock published its annual letter to clients and centered it on climate issues and how to navigate the energy transition. A key statement BlackRock makes is that the question is no longer whether a transition to a decarbonized economy will happen, but how. 

    Together with the letter, the asset manager released a report introducing a framework for how to invest in the transition to net zero. However, a 2030 interim decarbonization target and disclosure of the share of BlackRock’s assets already on track with its net zero goal have not yet been released, despite the investment firm announcing in last year’s letter to clients that these metrics would be made available in 2021.

    In response, members of the BlackRock’s Big Problem campaign issued the following statements:

    Ben Cushing, Fossil-Free Finance Campaign Manager with the Sierra Club:
    “BlackRock is making it clearer than ever that the transition to a clean energy economy is inevitable, and the key questions are how fast we will progress and which businesses will fail to seize the opportunities that lie ahead. Achieving this necessary shift in thinking in the financial world was hard. What comes next will be even harder. BlackRock is putting in place the measures needed to help investors navigate the transition, but the accelerating climate crisis means that the gap between current progress and the action that’s needed is ever-growing. BlackRock deserves credit for its leadership thus far, but successfully navigating and leading the transition will require hard choices about how to stop investing in the companies holding us back.”

    Moira Birss, Climate and Finance Director with Amazon Watch:
    “BlackRock crossed a big hurdle today: it finally acknowledged that a global transition to a decarbonized economy is underway, and began telling clients that they must navigate this transition. What BlackRock needs to confront next is the fact that the decarbonization it recognizes is needed can’t happen without clear guardrails for the specific activities — including the expansion of oil and gas production and of deforestation-risk commodities — that will prevent us from achieving the Paris goal of limiting global warming to 1.5℃.”

    Casey Harrell, Senior Strategist with The Sunrise Project:
    “Today, BlackRock has raised the bar for its clients, establishing the expectation that at a minimum, investors have to navigate the massive economic transition that the climate crisis necessitates. In essence, BlackRock is implying that broad market, mainstream indices like the S&P 500 will have to transform or play less of a dominant role. At the same time, BlackRock is not setting itself up for a successful transition unless it explicitly includes exclusion criteria on fossil fuel expansion, and recalibrates how it measures success within a sector. If BlackRock is to successfully drive the energy transition in line with what climate science says is necessary, it will have to face these details.”

    In-depth analysis of the climate announcements in the letter as well as the accompanying report will be made available at within the next few days. 

    Background information about BlackRock:
    With over $10 trillion in assets under management, BlackRock is the largest investment firm in the world, giving its CEO Larry Fink significant influence over the global economy. BlackRock is the leading investor in the companies threatening to overshoot the remaining carbon budget to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. It is also a top investor in the world’s most systemically relevant banks

    While Larry Fink announced that BlackRock was making sustainability its new standard for investing in 2020, followed by a commitment to align its business with a net zero pathway in 2021, the asset manager has yet to introduce policies consistent with achieving significant decarbonization of its portfolios. 

    About the BlackRock’s Big Problem campaign:
    BlackRock’s Big Problem is a global network of NGOs, social movements, grassroots groups, and financial advocates that are pressuring asset managers like BlackRock to rapidly align their business practices with a climate-safe world. Find more information about our network here

    Press contact:

    Jacey Bingler, Senior Communications Manager, The Sunrise Project
    [email protected], +1 207 616 6730