BlackRock said it had raised $4.5bn (£3.97bn) for a new climate infrastructure fund today as it looks to ramp up investment in the net zero transition amid criticism of its decision to continue backing oil and gas firms.
The world’s biggest asset manager, which has around $8tn under its stewardship, said it had secured backing from public and private pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies and family offices for the new fund – Global Infrastructure Fund IV.
The investor is set to target five sectors with the new capital – energy, low carbon power, transport and logistics, regulated utilities, and digital infrastructure – as it looks to cash in on the global push towards decarbonisation. It is aiming for a total $7.5bn raise with the new cash, after its previous infrastructure fund bagged $5.1bn in 2020.
The new fundraise comes amid criticism of the investor over its stance on fossil fuels and refusal to stop ploughing cash into coal, oil and energy projects.
Speaking to the Environmental Audit select committee last week in parliament, the firm refused to stop backing oil and gas firms and said its role was not to “engineer a specific decarbonisation outcome in the real economy.”
When asked by the committee whether it would support a net-zero scenario that called for “no new investment is needed in coal, oil, and gas,” BlackRock said: “No.”
The firm said it expected to remain long-term investors on behalf of clients in carbon-intensive sectors and that its fundamental role was as a “fiduciary to our clients”.
BlackRock is a signatory of the UN’s Net Zero Asset Managers alliance – part of the Glasgow Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero – causing some campaigners to criticise its decision and question the criteria of the agreement.
“This begs the question of what the criteria to be a member of Gfanz is. Financial institutions shouldn’t be investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure as this is not compatible with the aims of the Paris agreement [on the climate],” Ben Caldecott, director of the UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investmen, told the FT.