BlackRock Shakes Up Sustainable Investing Business Following Criticism

BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink says climate change is a defining factor in companies’ long-term outlook. Photo: thomas peter/Reuters

Investment giant BlackRock Inc. BLK 2.13% announced a series of moves Tuesday to address risks related to climate change, following criticism from investors and advocacy groups for investing in fossil fuels and allegedly being slow to act on green issues.

The world’s largest money manager, with around $7 trillion in assets under management, will expand its range of sustainable investment products and disclose more details of its climate-change conversations with the companies in which it invests.

The firm said it would assess environmental, social and governance, or ESG, factors with the same rigor as liquidity and credit risk. It said it was exiting investments in companies that generate more than 25% of their revenues from thermal coal production, and doubling its ESG exchange-traded funds to 150.

“Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects,” BlackRock Chief Executive Laurence Fink said in this year’s annual letter to the CEOs of companies in which the firm invests.

The moves follow BlackRock’s announcement last week that it had joined Climate Action 100+, the world’s largest group of investors by assets pressuring companies to act on climate change.

Write to Julie Steinberg at julie.steinberg@wsj.com

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