Press Release Contact: Kyle W. Kempf, Green Century Capital Management, firstname.lastname@example.org, (617) 482-0800
Boston, June 16, 2020 – It is too soon to praise BlackRock. BlackRock’s recent support for climate-related shareholder proposals at two oil and gas giants represents progress of a sort, but these steps do not provide enough evidence to determine if the company is finally taking action on the climate crisis and the risk it poses to investors and the world.
In May, BlackRock voted in support of a shareholder resolution that would split the role of chief executive and chairman at ExxonMobil* and against the reelection of two of its directors. It also supported a resolution urging Chevron* to report on how its lobbying aligns with the Paris Climate Agreement goals.
“BlackRock’s recent votes are encouraging – but ExxonMobil and Chevron are the lowest hanging fruit imaginable,” said Green Century President Leslie Samuelrich. “They’re literally responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than any other non-state-owned company in the world, these resolutions reflect steps they should have taken years ago. We need to see how BlackRock is voting on the many lower-profile climate-related resolutions.”
In December 2019, Green Century filed a shareholder resolution with BlackRock regarding the company’s failure to act in accordance with its public pronouncements about the climate crisis and the risk it poses to corporations and investors.
While BlackRock CEO Larry Fink publicly expressed a shift in the company’s approach to environmental risks, the company’s voting record on climate-related shareholder proposals was abysmal. In the 2018 proxy season, BlackRock voted in favor of only 10% of climate-related resolutions, one of the worst voting records among in its industry.
Green Century withdrew the resolution after BlackRock announced a climate action plan, which included being “increasingly disposed to vote against management when companies have not made sufficient progress.”
Although BlackRock’s vote at Exxon and Chevron are public, the rest of its voting record is a black box. So far, the company has only disclosed its proxy votes at 22 of the 2,200 companies at which it voted this year. This is a black mark on the BlackRock’s public commitment to support resolutions at companies making insufficient progress.
“BlackRock has disclosed how it voted at some fossil fuel giants, but deforestation and land use change are responsible for almost a quarter of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions,” said Green Century Shareholder Advocate Jessye Waxman. “BlackRock can’t claim to comprehensively address climate-related risk unless it votes in favor of resolutions that urge companies to reduce their emissions and adopt no-deforestation commitments across their supply chains. We need to see how the company is voting on resolutions at companies other than Exxon and Chevron.”
About Green Century Capital Management
Green Century Capital Management is the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds. The Green Century Funds are the first family of fossil fuel free, responsible, and diversified mutual funds in the United States. Green Century Capital Management hosts an award-winning and in-house shareholder advocacy program and is the only mutual fund company in the U.S. wholly owned by environmental and public health nonprofit organizations.
*As of March 31, 2020, BlackRock comprised 0.00%, 0.45%, and 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund, the Green Century Equity Fund, and the Green Century Green Century International Index Fund respectively. As of the same date, other securities mentioned were not held in the portfolios of any of the Green Century Funds. References to specific securities, which will change due to ongoing management of the Funds, should not be construed as a recommendation by the Funds, their administrator, or their distributor.
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The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC. 235 W Galena Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212. 6/20