BlackRock, the world’s largest fund manager with $6.5 trillion of assets under management – bigger in value than the world’s third-largest economy (Japan) – continues to ignore the serious financial risks of putting money into fossil fuel-dependent companies, a new report has found.
The report, from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), found that BlackRock has eroded the value of its $6.5 trillion funds by betting on oil companies that were falling in value and by missing out on growth in clean energy investments.
BlackRock’s investments lost investors an estimated $90 billion over the past decade “due largely to ignoring global climate risk,” the report said.
The report also found that BlackRock’s multibillion-dollar investments in the world’s largest oil companies – including ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, and BP – were responsible for the bulk of these losses.
The report added that BlackRock should reduce the influence of those with connections to the fossil fuel industry on its board, a recommendation the investment giant continues to ignore.
Tim Buckley, IEEFA Director of Energy Finance Studies and co-author of the report says due to its enormous size, BlackRock should demonstrate stronger leadership.
“If the world’s largest investor makes it clear the rules have changed, then other globally significant investors like Fidelity, Vanguard and Japan’s sovereign wealth fund will rapidly replicate and reinforce these moves, reducing stranded asset risks for all,” he said.
In its defense, via a statement to UK’s Guardian newspaper, BlackRock said they give clients the option of investing in environmentally and socially responsible funds and that these funds, make up 0.8 percent of its entire portfolio.
“BlackRock should be given some credit,” says Derick Lila, Managing Director at pvbuzz.com. “I believe the company is making strides in diversifying its portfolio – and a notable example is the company’s recent push towards distributed solar and storage.”
Only last month, BlackRock aquired a majority stake in GE’s solar business, giving the investment giant footing in a growing market that offers solar and storage solutions to the commercial, industrial and public sectors.
“While the company’s investments in clean energy isn’t as impressive as some of us in the business would like, we also have to understand they are Fund Managers,” Derick Added.