BlackRock bets big on dirty Indian coal - and loses big

The world's biggest funder of climate change faces increasing pressure to stop backing coal. New analysis shows it and 15 other big investors lost over $3.5B on coal investments in India.


A new report out from Greenpeace India today shows that 16 big equity investors - including BlackRock - have lost over $3.5B over the past 5 years investing in 8 different Indian coal companies.


BlackRock has investments in multiple Indian coal companies, who together yielded a combined loss of 2.6%. A comparative investment in Sensex (Indian stock exchange) would have earned instead a 10.4% return - an underperformance of 13%.


BlackRock is the largest institutional shareholder in Jindal Steel & Power and has significantly increased its holdings in both Jindal and JSW Energy Ltd since 2017. Jindal Steel & Power faces significant reputational challenges, including being connected to an assassination attempt on a Goldman environmental prize winner and the community activist fighting one of their projects.


This report is the first time anyone has been able to put a figure on how poorly equity investments in these Indian companies have performed relative to the benchmark.


In response to the findings, author Ashish Fernandes with Greenpeace India, wrote: “The financial industry has a role to play in catalyzing an energy transition away from coal and towards clean, renewable energy. We already know the damage coal is causing to human health, India’s economy and our planet’s future – this analysis now shows that coal equities are no longer even earning financial rewards for investors.”


The full report available here: act.gp/BurntByCoal