BlackRock is planning to decrease its support for shareholder climate resolutions this AGM season over concerns that many of those tabled are “too prescriptive”.
The world’s biggest asset manager, which has just under $10 trillion in assets under management, has moved to strengthen its stance on climate issues in recent years.
But bosses said some of the proposals put forward for AGM’s this year would be too restrictive to firms.
“Having supported 47% of environmental and social shareholder proposals in 2021, BIS notes that many of the climate-related shareholder proposals coming to a vote in 2022 are more prescriptive or constraining on companies and may not promote long-term shareholder value,” BlackRock said in a report.
The firm said that as a result it is likely to support “proportionately fewer this proxy season than in 2021, as we do not consider them to be consistent with our clients’ long-term financial interests”.
Among the votes that BlackRock has already opposed was an April 13th call for Canadian lender Bank of Montreal to adopt a policy to link financing with the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario.
The move from BlackRock comes after a strengthening of its rhetoric in support of climate action in recent years, with Boss Larry Fink writing in his much-watched annual CEO letter in 2020 that “climate risk is investment risk”.
But Fink said this year that businesses could shift the dial on climate change alone.
“Capitalism has the power to shape society and act as a powerful catalyst for change,” he said. “But businesses can’t do this alone, and they cannot be the climate police. That will not be a good outcome for society.
“We need governments to provide clear pathways and a consistent taxonomy for sustainability policy, regulation, and disclosure across markets.”