NYC Comptroller Calls Out BlackRock on Climate

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander has written to Larry Fink, CEO of the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock, calling for the firm to better align its investment activities with its climate commitments. Lander asked BlackRock to publish a clear implementation plan for achieving net zero across its entire portfolio; set out a detailed approach to reducing its exposure to high-emitting assets; and better support climate action through transparent corporate engagement that tackles issues such as anti-climate change lobbying. The Comptroller is the custodian of the assets of five New York City public pension funds, and BlackRock manages a collective US$43 billion on behalf of three of them: the Teacher’s Retirement System of the City of New York (TRS), New York City Employee’s Retirement System (NYCERS) and the New York City Board of Education Retirement System (BERS). Lander wrote: “The fundamental contradiction between BlackRock’s statements and actions is alarming. BlackRock cannot simultaneously declare that climate risk is a systemic financial risk and argue that BlackRock has no role in mitigating the risks that climate change poses to its investments by supporting decarbonisation in the real economy. As a fiduciary cognisant of the risks of inaction, BlackRock must demonstrate a plan to use its position as the world’s largest asset manager, with all the corporate governance responsibilities that go along with that position, to move its portfolio companies to get their businesses in line with a net zero economy.” 

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