Avery Ellfeldt, 19 February 2021
Wealth leviathan BlackRock Inc. gave teeth to its climate commitments this week when it pledged to leverage its shareholder power to punish companies that fail to take climate change seriously. That promise sends a message to the heaviest greenhouse gas emitters: Set targets to cut carbon or risk retribution from the world’s largest asset manager.
At issue is a memo BlackRock released Tuesday saying directors of companies in which it invests must have sufficient “climate fluency.” It also said corporations must forge and disclose their short-, medium- and long-term plans to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The more detailed expectations are part of BlackRock’s pledge last month to achieve net-zero emissions itself — a feat that will require grappling with the climate impact of its $8.7 trillion investment portfolio (Greenwire, Jan. 26).