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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Investment behemoth BlackRock is using its shares to push U.S. oil majors harder on climate, efforts that come months after BlackRock joined the advocacy group Climate Action 100+ and announced a new sustainability strategy.

Driving the news: BlackRock, citing concerns about Exxon's climate posture, yesterday voted against re-election of two members of Exxon's board and in favor of a resolution to create an independent board chair.

  • However, the members were re-elected and the push for an independent chair failed.

Why it matters: The votes nonetheless represent an escalation of BlackRock's push for Exxon to do more at a time when European-based majors are more active than their U.S. peers.

One level deeper: Yesterday BlackRock also used its shares to help pass a resolution, against the recommendation of Chevron's management, that prods the company to reveal more about its climate-related lobbying.

  • BlackRock cited the need for "greater transparency" into Chevron's approach, noting that Chevron says it backs the Paris climate deal.
  • More transparency "will help articulate consistency between private and public messaging in the context of managing climate risk and the transition to a lower-carbon economy," BlackRock said.

What they're saying: The shareholder advocacy group Majority Action, in a statement on the Exxon and Chevron votes, said BlackRock's vote at Chevron's meeting "was decisive in swinging the result to majority support."

But, but, but: "While these votes are important steps towards BlackRock fulfilling its new climate commitments, they do not constitute anywhere near the scale of overhaul BlackRock must undertake to systematically address climate risk across its outsized holdings," the group said.

Go deeper

Coronavirus hastens Big Oil's Atlantic divide on climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The pandemic is accelerating a divide between European and American oil companies over climate change and clean energy.

Why it matters: Bottom lines and investor returns will be vastly different across the corporate spectrum depending on how aggressively the world tackles climate change in the coming decades.

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.

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