BlackRock

InfluenceMap Score
D+
Performance Band
58%
Organisation Score
45%
Relationship Score
Sector:
Financials
Head​quarters:
New York, United States
Official Web Site:
Wikipedia:

BlackRock appears to have had mixed engagement on sustainable finance policies, with a significant increase in public support since 2019. On its corporate website BlackRock stated support for limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C, and in 2021 BlackRock joined the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative. CEO Larry Fink has advocated for urgent action on climate change in line with the Paris Agreement in opinion pieces and in his 2021 letter to CEOs, but has also argued for a continued role for greenhouse gas emission-intense investments. BlackRock has stated approval of the European Commission’s renewed sustainable finance strategy and broad efforts by policymakers to “advance sustainable finance.” BlackRock’s support for sustainable finance regulation seems to focus on policies that would incentivize green investment and improve corporate reporting and transparency, but it has not clearly endorsed regulation that would curtail damaging activities.

BlackRock’s position on mandatory corporate ESG reporting has evolved since 2019. In consultations by the European Commission’s Technical Expert Group (TEG) and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), both in 2019, BlackRock argued against a mandatory regulatory approach. However, since 2020, BlackRock has supported the need for regulated corporate ESG disclosure. In 2020 consultations by the FCA and the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), BlackRock supported mandatory implementation of the TCFD. In 2021 comments to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), BlackRock strongly supported mandatory climate disclosures for both public and private markets. In a 2021 letter to the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), BlackRock stated support for mandatory corporate ESG disclosure, and in a whitepaper on its website BlackRock stated support for the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and called for UK policymakers to increase ambition on regulated corporate ESG disclosures. CEO Larry Fink has been vocal in his calls for regulated corporate ESG disclosure and mandatory implementation of the TCFD, advocating this position in a speech at the 2020 Green Horizon Summit, his 2021 letter to CEOs, and his 2021 letter to shareholders.

In 2018-19, BlackRock stated broad support for a taxonomy while arguing in position papers and European Commission consultation responses that it should not be too granular or prescriptive. The company also advocated for a less rigorous approach in a 2020 white paper, writing that the taxonomy should “avoid prescriptive or binary definitions of sustainability that could limit asset owner choice.” In 2020-21, BlackRock appeared to become more supportive, stating support for the EU taxonomy regulation in feedback to the Commission in 2020 and in a paper on BlackRock’s website in 2021. In a speech in 2021, CEO Larry Fink appeared to encourage the creation of a green taxonomy in the US.

BlackRock has taken mixed positions on policies on ESG labels, standards, and benchmarks. In feedback to the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) in 2017, BlackRock argued against the creation of green labels at the EU level, and, since this time, has pushed for a weaker approach to the EU Ecolabel, though it has subsequently softened its opposition. For example, in feedback to the European Commission in January 2019, BlackRock suggested an unambitious threshold of 25% of green activities for a portfolio or company to be considered green. However, in May 2019, BlackRock revised this position to support the proposed 70% threshold, while still advocating for flexibility in labeling. In feedback to the TEG in March 2019, BlackRock supported many aspects of the EU Green Bond Standard including strong requirements on issuer disclosure, but in later feedback to the TEG in July 2019, BlackRock disagreed with most of the minimum proposed standards for the EU’s climate benchmarks. In its 2021 letter to IOSCO, BlackRock voiced support for regulatory action on ESG labels.

In 2017 comments to the HLEG BlackRock stated opposition to regulation to incorporate ESG into fiduciary duties and in comments to the FCA in 2019 BlackRock advocated for weaker stewardship standards. In a 2019 white paper, BlackRock supported policy to integrate ESG preferences into client advice but suggested that ESG objectives should be considered after “primary objectives have been established.” In a 2020 paper BlackRock appeared to support the inclusion of ESG considerations as part of the UK Stewardship Code, and in 2020 it wrote to the Japanese Financial Services Authority in support of the revision of the Public Stewardship Code to integrate sustainability considerations into investment management. In its 2021 report detailing regulatory developments in Europe, BlackRock stated support for changes to MiFID to include ESG factors in investor duties, support for the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), and support for the efforts of the DWP to require large pension schemes to integrate climate considerations into their operations. However, in its 2021 letter to IOSCO, BlackRock cautioned against overly prescriptive policies to integrate ESG into investor duties, and advocated for a phased-in and flexible approach.

In feedback to the US Department of Labor (DOL) in 2020, BlackRock opposed rules that would limit fiduciaries’ ESG investing and voting on ESG issues. However, in response to the SEC also in 2020, BlackRock offered an unclear position on regulation that sought to limit shareholder rights.

In the 2021 Forum on Banking Supervision, a BlackRock Managing Director stated support for incorporating ESG factors into risk management and developing methodologies and risk frameworks, but cautioned against adopting a one-size-fits-all approach. In a 2021 paper BlackRock mentioned possible future regulation to incorporate climate into risk management and regulation, but did not take a clear position.

BlackRock has disclosed its sustainable finance policy positions with some level of detail of activities to influence these policies on its website. BlackRock has disclosed most of its trade association membership, however, the information is fragmented across different documents for US and non-US memberships and no further information on indirect engagement is given.

QUERIES
DATA SOURCES
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Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
43%
 
43%
 
45%
 
45%
 
22%
 
22%
 
49%
 
49%
 
38%
 
38%
 
50%
 
50%
 
56%
 
56%
 
36%
 
36%
 
40%
 
40%
 
49%
 
49%
 
81%
 
81%

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.