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BlackRock’s support for climate and social resolutions falls sharply

By illuminem briefings 🌎

Aug 25 2023 · 1 min read

Illuminem Voices
Sustainable Finance · ESG · illuminemX

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Financial Times or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: BlackRock, the world's biggest money manager, has reduced its support for shareholder proposals related to environmental and social issues for the second consecutive year
• The firm backed just 7% of these proposals during the 12 months leading up to June

🔭 The context: In prior years, BlackRock showed more support for such proposals: 22% in the year before and 47% during the 2021 proxy season
• This retreat comes amidst increasing criticism from U.S. Republicans, accusing BlackRock of being excessively "woke"
• CEO Larry Fink has even refrained from using the term "ESG" due to its politicization

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: As ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) concerns rise in global importance, BlackRock's voting can sway corporate actions, especially given the SEC's (Securities and Exchange Commission's) stricter stance on blocking ESG shareholder proposals

⏭️ What's next: This year, 340 ESG proposals have been voted on in the U.S., a surge from 300 in 2022
• BlackRock reduced its support for some proposals, viewing them as "excessive" or "repetitive," such as withdrawing backing for Amazon's plastic packaging report after the company's own disclosure

💬 One quote: "So many shareholder proposals were overreaching, lacking economic merit, or simply redundant" (BlackRock)

📈 One stat: Investor backing for ESG proposals has declined, with median support dropping to 15% in 2023 from 32% in 2021, according to BlackRock and Institutional Shareholder Services data

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