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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The biggest investor in the world has an unambiguous message for the CEOs of the companies he invests in: climate risk is investment risk.

Why it matters: Pressure from BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, who controls $9 trillion, will encourage companies to report not only what their greenhouse gas emissions are today, but also what they're doing to ensure that their future emissions are in line with Paris Agreement targets that end at zero in 2050.

  • Fink announced today that he has already begun to vote his shares against managers and directors that fail to show "significant progress on the management and reporting of climate-related risk, including their transition plans to a net zero economy."

Driving the news: 61 of the world's largest companies signed on to common standards today that will allow investors to compare their progress against each other on an apples-to-apples basis.

  • The standardized metrics are global, and — crucially — have been signed onto by all four of the big accountancy companies. Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC will ensure that all companies calculate the metrics the same way.
  • They're applicable to all companies, public or private, regardless of industry or region.
  • The new standards will make life a lot easier for regulators, investors, or anybody else who wants to to judge companies not just on carbon emissions but on many other areas from water consumption to the amount of tax they pay.

Early adopters include Bank of America, Fidelity, Heineken, IBM, Mastercard, McKinsey, Nestlé, PayPal, Sony, Unilever, and many others.

  • What they're saying: "It's about companies setting clear metrics, measuring our progress, and holding ourselves accountable,” said Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

What's next: There's still a lot further to go. No regulators have mandated reporting of these standards, which aren't yet included in GAAP accounting principles.

The bottom line: "This is not the end, it's the beginning," EY CEO Carmine di Sibio told Axios.

  • Many companies will report these metrics voluntarily — but the lowest performers won't report their numbers unless and until they have to.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Jan 26, 2021 - Science

Investment in the space industry overcame the pandemic's headwinds in 2020

A SpaceX launch in 2020. Photo: SpaceX

Investment in the space industry continued to grow in the last quarter of 2020, despite the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from Space Capital.

Why it matters: The space industry turned out to be far more robust in the face of the pandemic than many experts were initially expecting.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
22 mins ago - Economy & Business

The Fed could be firing up economic stimulus in disguise

Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard at a "Fed Listens" event. Photo: Eric Baradat / AFP via Getty Images.

Even as global growth expectations increase and governments pile on fiscal spending measures central bankers are quietly restarting recession-era bond-buying programs.

Driving the news: Comments Tuesday from Fed governor Lael Brainard suggest the Fed may be jumping onboard the global monetary policy rethink and restarting a program used following the 2008 global financial crisis.

Democrats' hypocrisy moment

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be facing explicit calls to resign from President Biden on down, if you apply the standard that Democrats set for similar allegations against Republicans. And it's not a close call.

Why it matters: The #MeToo moment saw men in power run out of town for exploiting young women. Democrats led the charge. So the silence of so many of them seems more strange — and unacceptable by their own standards — by the hour.