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AUM in Action

Muted Support for Climate Vote at BlackRock

A proposal calling for the world’s largest asset manager to publish a report specifying how it will protect client portfolios from the systemic risk of climate change received support from 10% of the firm’s shareholders. “BlackRock’s investment and proxy voting decisions do shape real-world outcomes, but they are often ones that lock us into a fossil-fuelled future and accelerate portfolio-wide risk for its clients,” said Jessye Waxman, Senior Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club’s Fossil-Free Finance campaign. The shareholder resolution, which was filed by the Sierra Club Foundation, asked the asset manager’s board of directors to outline how Blackrock could improve its pension fund clients’ investment returns by focusing its climate-related investment stewardship and proxy voting to “engineer decarbonisation in the real economy”, thus mitigating BlackRock’s forecast cumulative 25% loss in global output due to unabated climate change and improving financial returns to shareholders. Paul Rissman, the proponent of the resolution and Sierra Club Foundation Board Member, said: “BlackRock’s largest shareholders are almost entirely all fellow asset managers. These asset managers rarely vote against each other, but based on the 10% support for the proposal on climate risk mitigation, it seems like a significant portion of asset owners and pension funds did support the resolution. Asset managers who care about retaining pension clients should take note.” The Sierra Club is also a member of BlackRock’s Big Problem, which is a global network of advocacy groups calling on the asset manager to align its business practices with climate solutions.  

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