Loopholes in New Policy Drive Down BlackRock's Coal Test Scores

Updated: Sep 10

BlackRock scored 0 on all but one criteria.

Yesterday, Reclaim Finance, a European-based climate organization, in partnership with 27 other NGOs, released the first online tool which identifies, analyzes, and compares the coal policies of global financial institutions. The tool will be maintained and updated in real-time and covers financial institutions in 30 different countries. It is the first of its kind and is a critical new tool for civil society to hold financial institutions like BlackRock accountable.


You can find it at: https://coalpolicytool.org/


All coal policies are not created equally and it’s important to assess them for a few reasons. While it has become fashionable for many financial institutions to have a policy restricting coal investments, many such policies are riddled with loopholes so large that they defeat the purpose of having such a policy in the first place, as they allow continued Investments of capital in the coal economy. Secondly, many financial institutions compete against one another for customers, employees and accolades; it is important to compare policies in hopes that competition will spur a race to the top.


Not surprisingly, BlackRock was among the lowest scoring institutions because, despite announcing a new coal policy in January, BlackRock’s exclusion criteria only covers a small part of the coal sector and has been applied to only a fraction of BlackRock’s overall assets under management.


  • BlackRock scored 0 on all but one criteria applied by the Coal Policy Tool to asset managers.

  • On the remaining criteria, BlackRock has the lowest possible score because its policy does not cover the whole coal value chain and is not applied to more than 70% of its assets under management.

  • BlackRock’s policy affects only less than 20% of the 746 companies on Urgewald’s Global Coal Exit List.


More generally, US asset managers, which dominate the market worldwide, were among the worst performers of all the financial institutions evaluated. US asset managers, including Vanguard, State Street, JP Morgan Asset Management, and Fidelity, scored a zero across all criteria evaluated.

“US asset managers tend to share an inadequate, dead-end approach to coal and climate. Whether it’s California’s pension funds CalPERS and CalSTRS, or the biggest global asset manager BlackRock, we face policies that only tackle the mining side of the thermal coal industry and leave out all other coal-related activities. These financial giants deserve their failing grades for all criteria of the Coal Policy Tool; and their claims to be addressing the climate crisis and divesting from coal ring hollow, when their coal policies keep ignoring the majority of the coal sector” says Vanessa Warheit, Executive Director of Fossil

Free California.


This new coal policy tool is another clear signal that BlackRock has a lot more to do to live up the climate promises it made in January. BlackRock remains the world’s largest backer of fossil fuels and deforestation.


That’s why groups across the country and around the globe are coming together in the next few weeks for the September swarm; distributed actions on the ground and online to turn up the heat on BlackRock. Find out more here.