BlackRock Inc. is being publicly eviscerated by some pension funds, other investors and politicians for its stance on environmental, social and governance factors. But a closer inspection of the world's largest manager's ESG investments, votes and internal practices show that they are not all that revolutionary.
The firm in May 2021 committed to the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, under which 77% of its assets under management would be aligned with net-zero by 2050 or sooner, up from 25% currently.
But the latest data show BlackRock voted in favor of climate change shareholder proposals fewer times than many of its rivals in the July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022 proxy season.
And some of its ESG strategies, including its private capital energy transition funds, can still invest in fossil fuel companies.
"We expect to remain long-term investors in carbon-intensive com-panies, because they play crucial roles in the economy and in a successful (energy) transition," BlackRock said in its 2030 net-zero statement that set interim targets.
The Net Zero Asset Managers initiative represents 291 global managers with a collective $66 trillion in assets under management that have made net-zero commitments.
BlackRock, which managed $7.96 trillion as of Sept. 30, had a total of $475 billion invested in dedicated sustainable/ESG strategies across the company's actively and passively managed investment strategies as of June 30, according to data BlackRock provided to Pensions & Investments.