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Thursday, January 20, 2022

BlackRock Wants Companies to Hire More Diverse Board Members, Aiming Towards a Clean Zero Climate Target

BlackRock wants more diversity on company executive boards and is pushing portfolio companies towards zero climate targets, according to Tuesday’s 2022 policy update, even as the world’s largest asset manager remains firmly invested in fossil fuels.

“We have been attracting companies that work with diversity for many years. This participation is the foundation of our voting guidelines for 2022. For example, in the United States, we believe that boards of directors should strive for 30 percent diversity in membership, and we encourage companies to have at least two directors who identify as women and at least one who identifies as a member of an underrepresented group. “, – says the corporate statement (pdf).

The New York-based investment firm, which manages $ 9.46 trillion in global assets, followed the lead of other major investors by convincing companies in their portfolios to comply with progressive guidelines on climate change, recruitment and management.

Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs Asset Management wanted the companies it invested in to have at least 10 percent of female directors and one director from an under-represented group on their boards. If the companies do not obey, Goldman Sachs votes by proxy against those proposed by the advice. BlackRock did not specify if they will take similar retaliatory actions.

There is currently specific demographic data available on which investment companies such as BlackRock and Goldman Sachs base their policies, and the collection of this data, especially in the United States, is likely to continue to grow, according to a BlackRock spokesman. Underrepresented people can include people with disabilities, veterans, ethnic or racial minorities, and those who identify as LGBTQ.

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Investment firms cite rising expectations of shareholders, employees, and clients for policy changes, although a business survey by consulting firm Brunswick Group found that a growing number of American consumers want CEOs to stay out of social issues and just focus on their own. enterprises.

The latest policy update says BlackRock is urging companies to “demonstrate the resilience of their plans in the face of likely decarbonization pathways and a global push to limit warming to 1.5 ° C.” However, CEO Larry Fink told a virtual audience at the MIT Center for Finance and Policy Center’s eighth annual Golub conference that he believes BlackRock should continue to invest in coal. “Mind you, if a fund, insurance company, or pension fund says, ‘I’m not going to own hydrocarbons,’ well, somebody else, so you’re not changing the world,” he said.

BlackRock has invested nearly $ 85 billion in coal-related assets, according to activist groups Urgewald and Reclaim Finance. BlackRock operates in 38 countries and has over 16,000 employees. The company has faced criticism for its anti-competitive behavior and extensive investment in China.

According to 2021 Spencer Stewart data (pdf), 47 percent (22 percent in 2020) of new independent directors at S&P 500 companies are black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, or racial, compared with 21 percent among existing directors. Forty-three percent of all new directors were women, up from 47 percent last year and 30 percent of incumbent directors were women.

To follow

Navin Atrappulli is a business and global reporter for The Epoch Times.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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