Jul 15, 2020 - Economy & Business

BlackRock took "voting action" against 53 companies on climate issues so far this year

BlackRock.
Photo: Hannes Breustedt/picture alliance via Getty Images

BlackRock, in a report published Tuesday, said this year it has used its shares to take "voting action" against 53 companies that are "making insufficient progress integrating climate risk into their business models or disclosures."

Why it matters: The tally is an early sign of how BlackRock is implementing one element of its wider plan unveiled early this year to make climate change more central to its strategy.

  • Most of those votes were against members of boards of directors, while some were in support of various climate-related shareholder proposals.
  • Of those 53 companies, 37 were energy companies with a combined market capitalization of $408 billion, BlackRock said.

The other side: "[T]his shareholder season BlackRock took only baby steps forward by voting the right way on a fraction of the climate tests on the table, and claiming that stronger action is on the way," said Ben Cushing of the Sierra Club, one of several groups that said BlackRock hasn't done enough.

Where it stands: Overall, BlackRock said that it has identified 244 companies that are not doing enough.

  • Beyond the 53 that they prodded with shareholder votes to show their displeasure, BlackRock said that "We have put the remaining 191 companies ‘on watch.’"
  • "Those that do not make significant progress risk voting action against management in 2021," the company said.

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