- BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager lost $US90 billion in the last decade through its investments in fossil fuel companies, a new report by an economics think-tank found.
- BlackRock’s investments lost investors an estimated $US90 billion over the past decade “due largely to ignoring global climate risk,” the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said.
- The report said that BlackRock should reduce the influence of those with connections to the fossil fuel industry on its board.
- BlackRock “continues to ignore the serious financial risks of putting money into fossil fuel-dependent companies,” the report added.
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The world’s biggest asset manager lost $US90 billion over the last 10 years by ignoring the risks of investing in fossil fuel companies, a new report report by an economics think-tank said.
The US-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said in a new, 92-page report released on Thursday that BlackRock lost investors over an estimated $US90 billion over the past decade “due largely to ignoring global climate risk” and by missing chances to make investments in clean energy.
It said that the company “continues to ignore the serious financial risks of putting money into fossil fuel-dependent companies.”
75% of these losses were the result of BlackRock’s investment in just four companies – ExxonMobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and, BP – which have “all underperformed the market in the past decade,” IEEFA’s report said.
BlackRock has S$6.5 trillion worth of assets under management, which the report notes is “bigger in value than the third largest economy in the world.”
Tim Buckley, one of the report’s authors and IEEFA’s Director of Energy Finance Studies, said that BlackRock should play a leading role in sustainability.
“As the world’s largest universal owner, BlackRock wields an enormous amount of influence and shoulders a huge responsibility to the wider community,” he said.
“If the world’s largest investor makes it clear the rules have changed, then other globally significant investors like Fidelity, Vanguard and Japan’s sovereign wealth fund will rapidly replicate and reinforce these moves, reducing stranded asset risks for all.”
A BlackRock report said in April that “climate-related risks already threaten portfolios today, and are set to grow” and that threatens the $US3.8 trillion US municipal bond market.
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink also wrote to corporate bosses in 2018, urging them to engage with environmental issues.
Buckley told the Financial Times on Thursday that “the obligation is on Larry Fink, who created this giant financial company, to stand by his own rhetoric.”
A BlackRock spokesperson told the UK’s Guardian newspaper that the company also gives clients the option of investing in environmentally and socially responsible funds, and that these funds make up 0.8% of its entire portfolio.
A spokesperson also told the Financial Times that its portfolios that focus on the environment “are among our fastest-growing which reflects clients choosing to move in that direction.”
BlackRock told the FT that most of its funds track baskets of shares, and that in these cases BlackRock does not actively pick companies to invest in.
IEEFA, whose backers include environmental groups, said its analysis shows that “BlackRock fails to systematically protect its investors from key long-term investment risks.”
It said that BlackRock should propose its own low emissions index benchmark for the passive funds, and should appoint an independent chair to its board as part of a refresh of its board that would “remove the excessive incumbent fossil fuel influence and losses that come with it.”