Mothers climate groups pressure Fink for tangible action and timebound changes in his 2020 letter.
Dear Mr. Fink:
We know you share our overwhelming concern for the future of our children, our grandchildren, and children around the world. We write to you today, ahead of your 2020 Annual Letter to CEOs, to ask you to commit to actions that will ensure a livable world now and into the future. What you say sets priorities for CEOs globally and the corporations they lead; your leadership and BlackRock’s actions can forge a path for corporations to follow.
Because your Annual Letter is a blueprint for global corporate action in 2020, we are joining organizations around the world in urging you to use your words and power to commit to ambitious goals and significant actions that will make a difference to the climate crisis and the world our children will inherit.
In your 2020 Annual Letter to CEOs, our children deserve to hear your commitments and the actions you will take to make them a reality. We urge you to:
Acknowledge that coal and other fossil fuels pose a clear, documented, and urgent risk to a livable and sustainable environment. A large and growing group of youth are using actions and words to highlight the catastrophic impact of business as usual on their realities. You must begin by naming the role of fossil fuels in the climate crisis and change your investment, engagement, and voting strategies, including divesting from coal.
Articulate how BlackRock will accept its fiduciary responsibility to take climate risks into account when making investment decisions. A clear step in 2020 must be to ensure that a substantial share of your funds are climate-safe—that is, fossil-free and deforestation-free—and make these the default option for all investors and clients. Our children live with the reality of a burning Amazon basin, vanishing lakes and rivers, and polluted air. You must lead global CEOs in dramatically reducing the climate risk of your investments.
Explain specific steps you will take in 2020 to ensure that BlackRock, currently the world’s largest investor in the companies driving the climate crisis, leads other asset managers in changing your investments to concentrate on renewable energy. This move makes financial as well as climate sense: the Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis reports that BlackRock’s key fossil fuel investments lost $90 billion over the past decade. This shift must be an ongoing priority, with an aggressive time-bound plan for accomplishing this goal.
Commit to vote proxy shares BlackRock controls IN FAVOR of shareholder resolutions related to climate, transparency, and responsible corporate governance. As you wrote in your 2019 Annual Letter, “Purpose is not the sole pursuit of profits but the animating force for achieving them.” Yet, as Majority Action reports, BlackRock consistently votes in favor of management’s positions emphasizing profits and against shareholder resolutions to increase transparency and include climate considerations in decision-making.
Publicly document BlackRock’s progress against its goals.
Mr. Fink, as BlackRock’s CEO, you are a leader in the global investment management industry. The direction you take will be the model for how asset managers approach their fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders and their moral responsibilities to the global community we all share. The purpose you articulate and priorities you set can help to determine whether our children and youth are able to live out their dreams in a healthy and sustainable world.
Your 2020 Annual Letter counts. The climate crisis is real and urgent. Our children and children around the world deserve actions that change business as usual, actions that make a positive difference in the way we address the climate crisis and define the world we are creating for them. We and the next generation of leaders are attending to the words you speak and the actions you and BlackRock take as you exercise your power to drive real change.
We ask you, for the sake of children around the world, to choose to be the leader we know you can be.
Mary Cerulli, Debbie New, Sue Stafford, Toby Woll, Cathy Zeek
On behalf of Mothers Out Front Corporate Responsibility Team
Mothers Out Front National Leadership Team
Mothers Out Front California:
Mothers Out Front Capital Region (Sacramento/Davis/Woodland)
Mothers Out Front Fresno
Mothers Out Front San Diego/National City
Mothers Out Front San Francisco
Mothers Out Front South Bay (San José and Silicon Valley)
Mothers Out Front Massachusetts:
Mothers Out Front, Acton
Mothers Out Front Arlington
Mothers Out Front Brookline
Mothers Out Front Cambridge
Mothers Out Front Downtown Boston
Mothers Out Front Newton
Mothers Out Front New York:
New York State Mothers Out Front Leadership Team
Mothers Out Front Long Island
Mothers Out Front Tompkins County
Mothers Out Front Westchester Rivertowns
Mothers Out Front Monadnock, New Hampshire
Ruth McElroy Amundsen, Mothers Out Front Hampton Roads, Virginia and Norfolk Solar Opportunity Zone Fund
Dr. Mary Finley-Brook, Steering Committee, Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative
Irene E. Leech, President, Virginia Citizens Consumer Council
Extinction Rebellion Boston
SunRiseKids New York City
Unitarian Universalist Mass Action
North Parish of North Andover, Massachusetts Unitarian Universalists