Finance

BlackRock urged to cut oil and gas stakes

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Political heavyweights and climate activists have called on BlackRock, the world’s largest investor, to slash its holdings in oil and gas companies to demonstrate its commitment to the escalating climate emergency.

The $7tn asset manager wrote to clients on 14 January to announce that its active funds, which oversee $1.8bn, would pull investments in companies that derive more than 25% of revenues from thermal coal production by mid-2020.

BlackRock’s move, which follows considerable pressure from environmental campaigners, will lead to about $500m of coal-related investments being sold off. No future investments will be made in the sector.

Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP who chairs the UK’s all-party parliamentary climate change group, told Financial News that BlackRock must go further than what it outlined in its January statement.

“If it is at all serious about the climate emergency, BlackRock needs to match rhetoric with real action and rapidly divest from oil and gas as well as coal,” said Lucas.

“But, by far the most effective and meaningful action the world’s biggest fund manager could take, would be to rid their passive investment portfolio of oil and gas stocks, starving the oil and gas industry of oxygen at a critical juncture while diverting resources into renewables.”

Passive funds cannot divest from individual companies, as they invest in all stocks included in an index, such as the FTSE 100. However, passive funds can track bespoke…



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