New memo acknowledges interconnectedness of climate change, ecosystem protection, and Indigenous rights
Today, BlackRock released a memo on its approach to engagement on “natural capital” as well as an updated memo on its 2021 stewardship priorities. The new commentary marked the first time any of the big three asset managers – BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street – acknowledged the interconnectedness of climate change, ecosystem protection, and Indigenous rights and the fact that corporate activities can harm all three. Despite this acknowledgement, BlackRock failed to commit to the action needed to end the ongoing deforestation of the world’s last standing forests or halt the epidemic of violence against Indigenous peoples and land defenders.
In response, members of the BlackRock’s Big Problem network issued the following statements.
Moira Birss, Climate and Finance Director for Amazon Watch said:
“It’s a positive step that a huge investor like BlackRock finally acknowledges the interconnectedness of climate change, ecosystem protection, and Indigenous rights. But BlackRock once again fails to identify transparent expectations, timelines, and consequences for company inaction on these issues. BlackRock’s words are toothless without accountability; this lack of standards leaves clients exposed to risk and keeps the firm complicit in the growing biodiversity, human rights, and climate crises in the Amazon rainforest and around the world. BlackRock should adopt a definitive no-deforestation and human rights policy with clear accountability mechanisms that result in concrete improvements for communities, ecosystems, and the planet.”
Gaurav Madan, Senior Forest and Land Campaigner with Friends of the Earth US said:
“BlackRock’s insistence on increased disclosure without clear accountability mechanisms will fail to protect the world’s last standing forests or halt an epidemic of violence against Indigenous Peoples and land defenders. To date, BlackRock’s opaque engagement has meant little for the communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis and violent resource extraction. BlackRock should hear the calls from Indigenous Peoples and local communities and steer its investments away from the companies and industries making a business out of deforestation and human rights abuses.”
In June of 2020 the BlackRock’s Big Problem network released the Forests and Human Rights Principles for Asset Managers which details the principles and approaches that should be included in forest-related policy being considered by BlackRock or other asset managers.
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Reports detailing asset managers investments in deforestation and Indigenous right abuses:
BlackRocks Deforestation Problem
Doubling Down on Deforestation
Complicity in Destruction III
Investing in Amazon Crude