BlackRock not changing stance on ESG investing, despite criticism

By | December 20, 2022

BlackRock is making no major changes to its policies on sustainable investing despite backlash from some Republican lawmakers.

In an annual update on its stewardship policies, the world’s biggest asset manager said it only made “a few changes.”

(Reuters / Reuters Photos)

One of these changes was mentioning its support for enhanced disclosures from companies exposed to risks and opportunities related to nature. The other policy was to encourage companies to release reports on their sustainability performance with enough time for investors to properly assess their exposure.

“As a result, we do not anticipate material changes in our voting, and much of our engagement with companies will be continuing the dialog on material risks and opportunities that we had in 2022,” the company said.

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“Over the past year, BlackRock has been subject to campaigns suggesting we are either ‘too progressive’ or ‘too conservative’ in how we manage our clients’ money. We are neither. We are a fiduciary. We put our clients’ interests first and deliver the investment choices and performance they need. We will not let these campaigns sway us from delivering for our clients,” BlackRock said in a statement to FOX Business.

“Clients continue to turn to BlackRock. In the US alone, clients awarded BlackRock $84 billion of long-term net inflows in the third quarter and $275 billion over the last twelve months.”

The annual update comes after an onslaught of criticism from some Republican lawmakers over the company’s stance on environmental, social, and governance, or ESG.

Earlier this month, Florida said it was pulling roughly $2 billion in assets from the firm over its ESG policies. BlackRock former sustainable investing czar Tariq Fancy, meanwhile, has called his one-time boss, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, an “emperor with no clothes” and called for him to step down.

The Black Rock building in New York

NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 16: A sign hangs on the BlackRock offices on January 16, 2014, in New York City. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images / Getty Images)

“Larry Fink should stop ducking the fight and enter the [ESG] debate to clarify what he’s saying. If he’s not going to do that then he should resign,” Fancy told The Telegraph.

Those comments came just days after North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Fowell fired off a letter to BlackRock’s board of directors, also demanding that Fink step down as CEO of BlackRock.

gov. Greg Abbott tweeted on Dec. 1 that “Texas was the first state to ban BlackRock from doing business with our state.”

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BlackRock controls roughly $8 trillion in assets, making it one of the most powerful pro-ESG voices in the financial world.

FOX Business’ Jeffrey Clark and Reuters contributed to this report.

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