BlackRock’s Big Problem network calls out inconsistency and lack of transparency in BlackRock’s voting record this season.
Today, BlackRock voted against the re-election of two directors at ExxonMobil and in favor of a shareholder motion that proposes splitting the role of chief executive and chairman. It also voted for a proposal requesting that Chevron report on how the company's direct and indirect lobbying align with the Paris Climate Agreement goals. The proposal does not suggest or require Chevron to alter its current actions.
BlackRock has so far disclosed some of its votes during this shareholder season, including at Barclays, Equinor, National Gas, and Ovintiv, but it has stayed silent on other key climate votes, including at JPMorgan Chase, Duke Energy, and Dominion. Before the start of the 2020 AGM season, shareholder advocates laid out a set of key climate-related shareholder votes to watch at major companies. BlackRock’s voting record and transparency on these critical measures has been mixed so far. Climate groups are also watching closely how the other two big asset managers, Vanguard and State Street, vote this shareholder season.
In response to today’s votes, members of the BlackRock’s Big Problem network issued the following statements:
“Voting to change leadership at ExxonMobil is the right decision, but taken as a whole, BlackRock’s voting and disclosure this season have fallen far short of the bar Larry Fink set in January,” said Sierra Club campaign representative Ben Cushing. “While BlackRock has voted for climate action at a handful of companies, it also voted to undermine climate action at others, including at major contributors to the climate crisis, like Barclays and Shell. Meanwhile it has remained conspicuously quiet on how it voted on critical proposals at companies such as JPMorgan Chase, Duke Energy, and Dominion, where the climate movement has said for years that change is desperately needed.”
“If BlackRock and Larry Fink truly want to be true leaders on climate, they need to start sending coherent signals on what responsible governance and action look like. That means voting consistently when boards are chronically incompetent on climate and, just as importantly, being fully transparent on voting. Only when BlackRock has the courage to own all its votes, and to shift capital out of climate and indigenous rights villains, will we know whether it has the courage to lead on climate,” said Moira Birss, Climate and Finance Director at Amazon Watch.
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How BlackRock has voted and provided disclosure on key climate votes throughout the season can be seen here.