Friday 2 October 2020 2:23 pm

Climate activists target Blackrock London office over 'greenwashing'

Climate protestors have targeted Blackrock’s London headquarters over its failure to put climate change at the heart of its investment strategy.

In January Blackrock’s chief executive Larry Fink announced it would put environmental sustainability at the core of its strategy.

Read more: Climate protesters target Lloyd’s of London over fossil fuels insurance

The world’s largest asset manager announced a sweeping overhaul in a bid to position itself as a sustainable investment leader, pledging to take steps including lowering its exposure to fossil fuel companies — a key demand of environmental campaigners.

But a report by campaign group Majority Action found that Blackrock has not held the boards of major emitters in the US accountable or support key resolutions.

Climate activists target Blackrock’s City HQ as part of the “September Swarm”. (Photo: Ron Fassbender)

Andrew Hyams, one of the demonstration’s organisers today said it was “mind-boggling” that Fink and Blackrock “are still trying to pass off a bunch of greenwashing and marketing as leadership.”

“Instead of doing what Larry Fink knows he should, what he said he would, BlackRock is misleading us on the extent and impact of its supposed climate action. Larry Fink is no visionary. Larry Fink is an opportunist getting rich off a disaster he’s too rich to ever feel”, he added.

Activists target City firms over climate change

The London protests are the culmination of a global escalation of protests targeting Blackrock, which activists dubbed the “September Swarm”.

Earlier this week there were protests in Paris, where activists deployed black smoke in front of the Blackrock office, as well as in Brussels where protestors wrapped trees in makeshift flames to symbolise the asset manager’s continued investment in companies driving global deforestation.

Blackrock is not the only City firm to be targeted by climate activists in recent weeks.

Protestors claim Blackrock has neglected climate change in its investment strategy (Photo: Ron Fassbender)

Last month returning Lloyd’s of London employees were met by protestors as they demanded the insurer ditch its fossil fuels insurance to protect the climate.

Protesters criticised Lloyd’s for failing to take “meaningful action” on climate change and undermining the positive moves made by other insurers.

Read more: BoE: Considering the climate would have held back stimulus

Since 2017, 19 global insurers have restricted insurance for investments in coal and tar sands.

Lloyd’s has instead stepped in to cover these controversial projects, which include the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine in Australia and reinsurance for Polish coal mines.