To Little Late Too Late? Blackrock (finally) Sets Sustainability Investment Goals

Blackrock CEO Larry Fink, no time left for just more words....

For the last three years, Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock, the USD 7 trillion under investment management firm, has been making noise about how corporate America needs to work for the common good, for all stakeholders, and not just shareholders

Lots of nice words.

Fink has been under pressure from activists and members of Congress alike, of late, to make good on his vision.

Today, he finally put teeth to his words, and made some big commitments to sustainable investing.

Amongst others committments, Blackrock promises to invest 1 trillion dollars in sustainable investments by 2030.  They will also not invest in any company with over 25% of their revenues coming from coal.  On other fossil fuels?  Not a peep.

This Week in Sustainability put together a top-notch pundit’s panel to discuss and make sense of Blackrock’s announcement.  And our pundits agree, that while it’s not a watershed moment in sustainability investment, it is a good moment, that excites their eternal (if qualified) optimism.

Their conclusions?

We need to hold Blackrock accountable for its actions.

If they vote with sustainability shareholder activists on resolutions against BigOil or BigChem, or if they actively divest from companies that do not have viable plans for a rapid transition to net zero carbon, for example, that would be proof of change.

“Speed and scale are crucial,” says Frank Coleman.  Blackrock provides the scale, particularly if they can get their peer investment management companies to come along with them.

If we get that, and rapid action, we might just have that ‘watershed moment’ we are looking for.

Frank Coleman former Senior Vice President at Christian Brothers Investment Services, a leading US Environment Social Governance  investment firm.

Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow, a non-profit leader in US shareholder advocacy, @AsYouSow

Paula Glick is Co-Founder, Honeytree Investment Management, ; @LizSimmie

Apologies to Paula Glick, due to technical difficulties we were unable to capture her full answer to a question at around seven minutes into the podcast.



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