Reports: BlackRock and Barclays to act on climate investment calls
As reports emerge that Barclays is set to agree on shareholder calls to phase-out fossil fuel investments, BlackRock has already made strides on its stance to remove fossil fuel firms from its portfolio.
The world’s largest asset manager BlackRock has reduced its shares in Peabody Energy by 9% compared to January 2019, with its stake now sitting a 5%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Peabody’s shares are down more than 70% in a year as the coal industry continues to face the threats of stranded assets as part of the low-carbon transition.
Last month, BlackRock announced new steps to embed climate action into its investment decisions. The world’s largest investor is in the process of removing companies that generate more than 25% of revenue from thermal coal production from its active investment portfolios.
The past 12 months have seen the world’s biggest investor face mounting calls from activists to remove fossil fuel firms from its $6.9trn portfolio; to align its engagement with the Paris agreement; to back positive climate-related shareholder resolutions more than 10% of the time; and to heed the recommendations of Climate Action 100+ - an investor group advocating for finance to step up ambition and action on climate change.
After directly voting against several of Climate Action 100+’s shareholder resolutions in the past, BlackRock this week announced that it has joined the group, which represents more than 370 firms with more than $35trn in assets under management collectively.
The investor, which manages $50bn in solutions that support the transition to a low-carbon economy, has also reiterated its decision to cut investment from companies failing to act on climate change or disclose relevant data.
BlackRock has warned that high-level directors could be voted out of companies that are failing to act on climate risks posed to individual firms. The investor revealed that it voted against or withheld votes from 4,800 directors at 2,700 different companies last year.
While BlackRock continues to act on its pledge, the Telegraph has reported that Barclays looks set to act on shareholder calls to ditch fossil fuel investments in favour of aligning its portfolio with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement.
A report last year by NGO ShareAction revealed that Barclays had invested more than $85bn into fossil fuel projects, making it the largest European funder and sixth largest globally. The NGO has since filed a resolution calling on the bank to align to the Paris Agreement, a filing that the Telegraph believes will be accepted.