Jan 23, 2024 - News

Activists to walk out of BlackRock keynote at Cleveland sustainability summit

A building with BlackRock wordmark on the front

BlackRock headquarters in New York City. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Greater Cleveland Partnership's sustainability summit at Huntington Convention Center will be getting some unexpected action on Tuesday.

Driving the news: Activists plan to attend the keynote address by asset management firm BlackRock's head of sustainable client solutions for the Americas and walk out in protest.

  • They then plan to host a "teach-in" at the convention center focused on community-centered sustainable solutions.

Details: The walkout is co-sponsored by Cleveland Owns, the InterReligious Task Force, the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and the Greater Cleveland Housing Justice Coalition.

What they're saying: "Making a just transition to a clean energy economy in Cleveland requires putting people first," Jonathan Welle, lead organizer and co-founding board member of Cleveland Owns, tells Axios.

  • "We need to build a lot of rooftop solar arrays in Cleveland … If we allow the BlackRocks of the world to own them, they will use them to extract wealth from our city. That's not a just transition — that's windfall for Wall Street."

The other side: Kaitlin Bergan, the keynote speaker, is expected to discuss "sustainable investing."

  • GCP did not respond to Axios's requests for comment.

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