More huge index fund firms are moving away from fossil fuel investments and toward those funds that will help fight climate change. Chief among them is BlackRock Inc., operating in more than 30 countries and is one of the biggest holders of most U.S. publicly traded companies. In January it joined Climate Action 100+, a group of hundreds of investment managers that have $41 trillion in assets.
“Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects,” Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink wrote in his annual letter to corporate executives. “Awareness is rapidly changing, and I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.”
Initiatives that Fink outlined in his letter included focusing more on sustainability in portfolio construction and risk management; leaving investments that present a high sustainability-related risk (such as coal investments); supporting investment products that screen fossil fuels; and commit BlackRock to sustainability and transparency in its investment stewardship activities.
The move came after groups called on BlackRock to more directly address climate change; they include Amazon Watch, the Sunrise Project, and individual activists. To them, the choice is not a morally neutral one.
“I think the large passive managers have a real difficult decision to make,” Gore told the Financial Times in December. “Do they want to continue to finance the destruction of human civilization, or not?”
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