Friday 15 November 2019 3:20 pm

Extinction Rebellion activists target Blackrock in Amazon deforestation protest

Extinction Rebellion protesters have targeted the London headquarters of Blackrock, protesting what they described as the role of the world’s largest asset manager in the destruction of the Amazon.

Activists from the climate campaigning group dumped wood ash – waste collected from pizza ovens and stoves – in front of the entrance to Blackrock’s offices in the City, calling on the company to “put the fire out” in the Amazon.

Read more: Extinction Rebellion protesters flout ban to march on Trafalgar Square

Performers then staged what the group described as a “carnival of flames and ashes”, and performers including a troupe of drummers joined the protest.

An Extinction Rebellion pours wood ash onto the ground outside Blackrock’s office. Image: Getty

“We’re here today because [Blackrock] has funded so much destruction. We want them to change their business model,” said Extinction Rebellion activist Aaron Everson-Bullock.

Another activist, Mary Stockdale, said: “Blackrock have really grown to be a giant force for ecocide. They are some of the largest investors in the destruction of the rainforest and the Amazon, and they also are one of the largest investors worldwide in fossil fuels.”

An August report from campaigning groups including Amazon Watch and Friends of the Earth named Blackrock as the “world’s largest investor in deforestation”.

According to the report, Blackrock is among the three biggest shareholders in 25 of the world’s largest listed “deforestation risk” companies, and in the top 10 shareholders of 50 more.

The climate activist group today announced a year-long boycott of products linked to deforestation in the Amazon basin and human rights abuses.

Protesters performing outside the London office of the world’s largest asset manager. Image: Getty

Stockdale said Extinction Rebellion was “calling on people to boycott all commodities that are part of the destruction of the Amazon”, including “products from Brazil like beef, leather, soy, timber, sugar, gold and palm oil”.

“I’d like to see Blackrock divest from everything they invest in that is polluting and destroying the planet, especially in the Amazon,” said Matt Wimpress, a campaigner from the group Stop Ecocide, which campaigns to have ecocide made a crime in international law.

Read more: ‘Don’t piss people off’: Sir Richard Branson’s advice for Extinction Rebellion is short and sweet

Speaking at the protest, Wimpress said: “I think [Blackrock] is a machine, and I think the machine has gone completely mad. I think it’s going to take a whole bunch of people from inside the machine to put the brakes on and rethink what they’re doing.”

“We need a major rethink, and companies like Blackrock need to fundamentally change,” he added.

Blackrock declined to comment on the protest.

Main image credit: Getty