Thursday 25 February 2021 6:30 pm

Vanguard and BlackRock uncovered as largest investors in coal industry

The US mutual fund company Vanguard has been named the world’s largest institutional investor in the coal industry, with holdings of almost $86 bn, according to research carried out by Rainforest Action Network, Urgewald and 28 other NGO partners.

The investor is closely followed by BlackRock, which has invested over $84bn in the coal industry to date. Together, the two investments giants account for 17 per cent of all institutional investment in the coal industry.

The revelation follows calls by Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, for a renewed focus on environmentally friendly investments, saying “climate risk is investment risk.”

“While many large EU investors have begun screening coal companies out of their portfolios, the vast majority of US investors have refused to adopt coal exit policies. Our research underscores how dire the consequences of this failure are,” said Katrin Ganswindt, head of financial research at Urgewald. The NGOs published a list of the top investors in the coal industry.

Top 10 Investors (2021 January or most recent filling date)

InvestorCountryBonds + Shares (US$ M)
VanguardUnited States85,852
BlackRockUnited States84,355
Capital GroupUnited States38,351
State StreetUnited States32,505
Government Pension Investment FundJapan29,083
T. Rowe PriceUnited States15,436
Fidelity InvestmentsUnited States14,857
Government Pension Fund GlobalNorway14,572
JP MorganUnited States14,232
TIAAUnited States13,829


A new Executive order from President Biden has ended public financing for fossil fuels abroad, but research carried out by the group of NGOs has shown that US investors still account for 58 per cent of all institutional investments in the global coal industry.

Paddy McCully, Climate and Energy Program Director at Rainforest Action Network, said: “The new administration must also address the role of Wall Street as a huge driver of climate pollution around the world. Its massive investments in the coal industry are driving us ever deeper into a climate crisis.”