New York, Jan 18th, 2022 — BlackRock CEO and Chairman Larry Fink has released his annual letter to CEOs, without the letter to clients that has been traditionally paired with it in past years.
Like in recent years, the letter includes Fink’s discussion of climate issues. Past letters have served to introduce coal exclusion policies or frameworks intended to attempt to lower BlackRock’s emissions. This year’s letter, however, does not contain anything of substance that would concretely decarbonize the asset manager’s portfolio or reduce its massive exposure to climate destructive companies.
In response, members of the BlackRock’s Big Problem campaign issued the following statements:
Casey Harrell, Senior Strategist with The Sunrise Project:
“In the year 2022 few things rise above the political fray, but climate science has to be one of them. In his letter, Larry Fink is trying to be everything to everyone and that is not true leadership. If he will not stand up to climate skeptics, what will happen when some of the heavy-emitting companies that BlackRock owns are, to use his words, actually dodos instead of phoenixes? Will Larry have the gumption to get up and tell uncomfortable truths to these companies? This letter does not invoke confidence that Larry is the leader we need him to be, and we hope that the client letter will have much more detail and much more specific ambitions about what BlackRock will do.”
Moira Birss, Climate & Finance Director with Amazon Watch:
“The question isn’t who’s ‘woke’ or not, it’s who is leading our economy and our planet on a path either to destruction or to a livable future. Fink apparently wants to be above the political fray, but by playing nice with those profiting off of the causes of climate change, he’s making the political choice to reject climate science, which makes absolutely clear that a rapid transition from all fossil fuels is unquestionably urgent and necessary.”
Ben Cushing, Fossil-Free Finance Campaign Manager with the Sierra Club:
“There’s not much to see here other than more hot air from a would-be climate leader. Larry Fink’s latest letter to CEOs is just another rehashing of the same vague rhetoric, without any meaningful new commitment to actually help lead the necessary transition to a climate-safe future. Fink is insisting on continuing to prop up dirty fuels like fracked gas and peddling the outdated and dangerous view that gas has a place in the energy transition, despite the scientific consensus that we need to stop expanding fossil fuels immediately. Will this be yet another missed opportunity for BlackRock or will it finally hold polluters and laggards accountable?”
BlackRock’s continued support for the companies driving us deeper into the crisis:
BlackRock is the world’s largest asset management firm and has recently surpassed $10 trillion assets under management (AUM). The Wall Street behemoth is also one of the leading investors in fossil fuel and deforestation companies. According to a report by the NGOs Reclaim Finance and Urgewald, BlackRock holds $85 billion in coal companies, $24 billion of which are invested in companies planning to expand their coal business. While Fink highlights sustainable investments having reached $4 trillion globally, he fails to mention that as of January 2021, worldwide investments in coal alone surpassed $1 trillion. In late 2021, BlackRock finalized a $15 billion deal with Saudi Aramco to acquire 49% of the oil & gas major’s gas pipeline subsidiary. The IPCC and IEA have made it very clear: to stay within 1.5 degrees of global warming, we have to stop investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure immediately.
BlackRock’s financed emissions:
BlackRock hasn’t implemented successive, concrete decarbonization measures since Fink introduced a lackluster thermal coal exclusion policy in his 2020 letter. To date, a 2030 interim emissions reduction target that BlackRock was supposed to release by the end of last year has not been published. Analysis conducted by Universal Owner shows that only 10% of BlackRock’s assets under management are responsible for 85% of its portfolio emissions. Unless BlackRock commits to managing 100% of its AUM in line with concrete decarbonization goals, the investment giant may leave room for runaway emissions sizable enough to push the 1.5 degree goal way out of our reach.
Jacey Bingler, Senior Communications Manager, The Sunrise Project
[email protected], +1 207 616 6730
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.