Investment Giants Vote Against Shareholder Climate Resolutions

Investment giants BlackRock and Vanguard, along with other Wall Street’s largest asset management companies, failed to live up to their climate commitments after opposing shareholder climate resolutions of the risk mitigation.

According to a report from The Guardian, influential firms like BlackRock and Vanguard had repeatedly voted against 16 climate-critical shareholder resolutions, which would have given the measures majority support.

“The climate crisis is well upon us, and leading investors are stepping up to press fossil-fuel-dependent companies to align their strategies to the goals of the Paris agreement but some of the largest US investment companies are severely lagging,” said Eli Kasargod-Staub, Executive Director of issue-advocacy organization Majority Action.

“Blackrock and Vanguard have been using their shareholder voting power to undermine, rather than support, investor action on climate, including opposing every one of the resolutions proposed by the $34tn Climate Action 100+ coalition, calling for significant board room reform in response to its failure to act on climate change,” he added.

To date, Vanguard Group and BlackRock stand as two of the world’s largest asset-management companies with more than $6tn under management and $5.2tn respectively. In 2017 both companies voted against ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest oil and gas corporation, to report on climate change.

In April, Blackrock released a report focusing on climate change as a type of risk “investors can’t ignore.” Meanwhile, Vanguard publishes a yearly “investment stewardship” report, which presents the company’s steps towards sustainable investing.

In a statement sent to The Guardian, Blackrock explained that the company remains faithful to its climate commitment. However, it emphasized that it is wrongful to blindly vote for proposals without regard for their effects.

“We have the largest investment stewardship team in the industry and engage with companies even in the absence of shareholder proposals,” the company wrote.

“We support shareholder proposals that we believe will enhance the value of our clients’ investments. But not all shareholder proposals are created equal, and it would be wrong to equate good governance with voting against management without regard for a proposal’s impact.”