New York City Comptroller Brad Lander slammed a decision by BlackRock, its largest external money manager, to appoint the chief executive of the world's biggest oil company to its board.
"BlackRock has clearly stated that climate risk is an investment risk, but actions speak louder than words," New York City Comptroller Brad Lander said in an emailed statement. "At a time when financial institutions need to take a collective approach to addressing the financial risks from climate change, BlackRock shareholders expect climate-competent, not climate-conflicted, directors."
BlackRock this week named Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser to its board, underscoring the investment firm's commitment to the oil industry. The move comes as BlackRock finds itself at the center of a highly politicized debate around environmental, social and governance investing, with Republicans accusing it of focusing too much on climate change and social issues.
Environmentalists, meanwhile, have criticized BlackRock for its continued support of the fossil-fuel industry.
A spokesman for BlackRock declined to comment.
New York's pension plans oversee about $250 billion. They were among the first in the U.S. to set targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions across their investments. Mr. Lander said last year that BlackRock had backtracked on some of its climate pledges and, as a result, the New York City pension plan had been in conversations with the firm, saying that it couldn't meet its own emissions goals if its money managers don't meet theirs.
BlackRock managed about $54.6 billion for all five New York City pensions as of the end of April, of which $42.9 billion was for the three pension funds that have set net zero emissions goals, the comptrollers office said.