Hundreds rally as part of multi-city demonstrations after months of mounting pressure
Oct. 29, 2019 - Protests against BlackRock escalated this morning as the company continues to come under pressure for being the world’s top investor in fossil fuels and companies driving deforestation, the leading causes of the climate crisis. 10 people with New York Communities for Change (NYCC) and Sunrise Movement, as well as activists associated with Extinction Rebellion, blocked the entrance to BlackRock’s New York City headquarters with a 20ft long mural asking BlackRock CEO Larry Fink “which side are you on?”, while around 200 people rallied at the office entrance. Demonstrations are also planned in Boston and Toronto. The protests come after months of mounting pressure against the company including protests in London and San Francisco in the past two weeks.
“Seven years ago today, Sandy killed many New Yorkers and devastated the region. BlackRock is the biggest investor in climate destruction but continues to hide behind excuses for its lack of action,” said Partick Houston with New York Communities for Change, who was one of the activists blocking BlackRock’s entrance. “Experts have been asking BlackRock to start taking responsibility for its role in the climate crisis for over a year. The crisis is too urgent to continue to ask nicely. Today’s protest is a wake up call for BlackRock.”
In recent months BlackRock has been the target of increasing pressure for its refusal to take action on climate change. From anger over its investments in the companies responsible for the Amazon fires, to climate strikers calling the company out for being one of the biggest investors in fossil fuels globally, BlackRock has become a focus of the climate movement. Later today in Boston a contingency from Mothers Out Front will give out climate homework for Mr. Fink and BlackRock employees.
“As the next generation, we are outraged at the silence from BlackRock as it rakes in profits off the backs of future generations, frontline communities, people of color, and the Global South. The millions of dollars it spends greenwashing their public image is only earned by quietly investing billions of dollars in dirty, shameful fossil fuels and rainforest destruction,” said Molly Kerker with the Sunrise Movement. “Since BlackRock CEO Larry Fink currently refuses to use his immense power to address climate breakdown, we are making it clear that we will fight with the energy and anger of the next generation for a livable, just future until Larry Fink makes BlackRock a climate leader.”
Amidst the protests, a series of reports have shined a light on the extent of BlackRock’s climate problem. In early August IEEFA detailed how BlackRock has lost $90 billion over the last decade by staying invested in certain fossil fuel companies. Friends Of the Earth and Amazon Watch released a report showing BlackRock to be the top investor in deforestation risk commodities globally. In September, Majority Action detailed how BlackRock voted overwhelmingly against climate critical shareholder resolutions. Despite BlackRock’s inaction, other leading global asset managers have begun to divest from coal in actively managed funds, showing that it is possible.
"BlackRock has an enormous amount of influence that it could be using to tackle the climate crisis, but time and again it has failed to do so," said Sierra Club Campaign Representative Ben Cushing. "Larry Fink needs to do three things: 1) Remove the worst polluting companies from actively-managed products; 2) Provide fossil-free and deforestation-free funds as the default in passively-managed products; and 3) Use BlackRock’s massive shareholder power to hold climate-destroying companies accountable by providing time-bound criteria for action, and voting for shareholder resolutions and new board members if companies won't align their business with the goals of the Paris Agreement."
Groups involved in the demonstrations at BlackRock offices in New York included NYCC, Sunrise Movement NYC, Beloved Earth Community of Riverside Church, Sierra Club, 350NYC, and Friends of the Earth. Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir also performed. In Boston demonstrations will be led by Mothers Out Front, Sierra Club MA, Extinction Rebellion Boston, 350MA, MassDivest.
For more information contact:
Myriam Fallon, 708.546.9001, firstname.lastname@example.org
Live stream of the NYC demonstration can be seen on the New York Communities for Change (NYCC) facebook page https://www.facebook.com/nychange/
Images from the demonstrations can be found in this folder.
Photos from New York action (Boston + Toronto below):
Photos from Boston action:
Photos from Toronto action: