NYC’s Comptroller Calls Out BlackRock CEO Larry Fink for Backtracking on Climate Pledges

NYC Comptroller Brad Lander accuses BlackRock of walking back climate commitments in response to criticism targeting the company's ESG policies.

Cutout of Fink with sign 'Pick a Side,' held outside BlackRock headquarters
Climate protest at BlackRock headquarters in May.
(Photo by Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In a public letter addressed to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, New York City’s Comptroller Brad Lander accused the asset manager of changing its stance on environmental policies.

BlackRock is the largest asset manager for three of the city’s pension funds, managing around $43 billion worth of their investments. In Lander’s Sept. 21 letter, he expressed his “growing concern that BlackRock is backtracking on its climate commitments, to the detriment of its portfolio, New York City’s pension funds, and our planet.”

The world’s largest public asset manager, BlackRock had $10 trillion under management as of last year. Under Fink, the company has been more assertive about pushing companies to adopt socially responsible positions, but for some investors, its rhetoric has not matched its actions.

In August, 19 state attorneys general criticised BlackRock’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies. Lander said BlackRock’s response to the attorneys general, where it claimed the asset manager continues to invest in fossil fuels and hasn’t set emission targets, contradicted earlier climate pledges.

“The fundamental contradiction between BlackRock’s statements and actions is alarming,” wrote Lander, who demanded the company publish plans laying out how it will achieve net zero emissions, phase out high-emitting assets and support climate action. NYC’s Comptroller Calls Out BlackRock CEO Larry Fink for Backtracking on Climate Pledges