exas state senators struggled for more than six hours last week to get straight answers from Wall Street giants BlackRock and State Street, two of the world’s largest asset managers, regarding what they are doing to compel companies whose shares they own to get in line with the ESGmovement.
Having joined global Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) clubs like Climate Action 100+ and the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative (NZAM), and signed pledges to leverage their voting power as the largest shareholders in 90 percent of the S&P 500 companies to “reach net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner across all assets under management,” the asset managers testified that, in reality, they are doing no such thing.
When asked by Senate Chairman Bryan Hughes to clarify BlackRock’s pledge to Climate Action 100+ “to secure commitments from companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the Paris Agreement,” BlackRock’s Head of External Affairs Dalia Blass responded that BlackRock merely talks to companies whose shares they own to learn about their “material risks and opportunities.”
“We participate in Climate Action 100 to engage in dialogue with other participants, market participants, governments so that we understand issues that are relevant to our clients,” said Blass, who recently joined BlackRock from the Biden Administration where she worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The motto of Climate Action 100+ is “Global investors driving business transition.”
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