What is BlackRock's Big Problem? Press briefing

Reporters covering climate change, sustainability, and finance are being sent this briefing paper from the Sierra Club and others outlining the background on this campaign.


Asset managers like BlackRock are overlooked contributors to the climate crisis. Although pension funds and banks are familiar targets of climate activism, asset managers play a unique and distinctly problematic role in the climate crisis.


BlackRock is the largest asset manager in the world, with about $6 trillion in assets under management. CEO Larry Fink claims that that he wants be a leader in social responsibility and a force for more companies to have a “social purpose.” In fact, BlackRock recently made an attempt to build public goodwill by announcing plans for more transparency in its investments and the creation of a handful of “sustainable” funds.  


But BlackRock’s investments and actions tell a very different story. Blackrock is the largest single owner of fossil fuels and deforestation-related commodities, which are the top two causes of climate change. BlackRock is the biggest U.S. investor in coal, oil and gas, and rainforest destruction, and contributes more to climate change than almost any other company on earth. BlackRock has also failed to use its influence to push other companies to be better, voting in favor of just 23% of climate-related shareholder resolutions.


In 2018, the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, the Sunrise Project, Amazon Watch, New York Communities for Change, and the Divest Invest Network launched “BlackRock’s Big Problem,” a campaign focused on transforming the asset management sector. The campaign aims to: improve BlackRock’s atrocious record as a proxy voter; induce it to offer less toxic index products; and pursue divestment from fossil fuels in all of its actively managed funds.


Leading up to BlackRock’s Annual General Meeting in New York City in May, the asset manager will be facing increasing pressure from environmental, human rights, and sustainable investment activists about its practices, including pressure to vote on climate proposals at companies in which it is a shareholder.


Experts working within the campaign are available for comment and background on a variety of topics, including:

  • BlackRock’s attempts at greenwashing and the inadequacy of its so-called “sustainable” funds

  • Mobilization efforts towards the BlackRock Annual General Meeting this coming May

  • Key shareholder votes in the upcoming proxy season BlackRock is being challenged to support

  • Voices from communities on the frontlines of fossil fuel and deforestation projects in which BlackRock is heavily invested

  • The lobbying and campaign contribution profile of CEO Larry Fink and key executives

Media looking for more information please contact:


Gabby Brown, gabby.brown@sierraclub.org