BlackRock Unveils Climate Policies for $150 Billion in Funds

(Bloomberg) — BlackRock Inc. laid out new details about how it manages $150 billion in investment funds that have climate objectives, telling investors it intends to step up scrutiny of companies’ strategies for accomplishing a shift to a low-carbon economy.

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The world’s largest money manager will look at corporate plans to see how well they align with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C, Joud Abdel Majeid, head of investment stewardship at BlackRock, said in a message to clients.

The new policy, which takes effect in the fourth quarter, will initially apply to 83 funds set up in Europe that have specific climate and decarbonization objectives. Similar funds in the US and Asia-Pacific region as well as separate accounts managed for clients may also take up the new guidelines, according to the firm.

The policy is the latest example of how BlackRock is trying to navigate the backlash against ESG and climate-change investing. The money manager has faced intense scrutiny from Republican politicians across the US for its stance on climate change, while environmental advocates and some Democrats have urged BlackRock to use its clout to press companies harder to cut emissions.

The climate policies unveiled on Tuesday apply to a small fraction of BlackRock’s total $10.5 trillion in assets under management at the end of March.

“For all other funds, BlackRock will continue to undertake our stewardship responsibilities with a sole focus on advancing clients’ long-term financial returns in line with our benchmark policies,” Majeid said.

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