West Virginia drops BlackRock fund over anti-energy stance
West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore announced on Monday that his state will end the use of an investment fund BlackRock Inc. due to the company’s efforts for investment strategies. climate-focused projects that Moore says threaten his state’s economy.
“As Chief Financial Officer of the State and Chairman of the Board of Treasury Investments, I have a duty to ensure that taxpayers’ money is managed in a responsible and financially sound manner, which reflects the best interests of our state and our country, and I believe doing business with BlackRock is inconsistent with that duty,” Moore said in a statement.
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The Treasurer’s press release explained that the decision came in response to reports that BlackRock “has urged companies to adopt ‘net zero’ investment strategies that would harm the coal, oil and natural gas industries, while increasing investment in Chinese companies that subvert national interests and damage West Virginia’s manufacturing base and labor market.”
Last month, Consumers’ Research, an educational nonprofit, sent a letter to ten governors, including the governor of West Virginia, whose state pension funds are most invested with BlackRock, highlighting guard against the fund management company’s heavy investments in China.
“BlackRock’s channeling of billions of US capital into China carries risks not present in other markets, risks that threaten the big bets the company is placing on high Middle Kingdom yields” , wrote Will Hild, executive director of Consumers’ Research in the letter. .
“Chinese companies are not held to the same transparency standards as their Western counterparts, so foreign investors often struggle to appreciate the true risk profile of what they are investing in,” Hild added.
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A BlackRock spokesperson told FOX Business at the time that the United States and China “have an important and interconnected economic relationship.”
“We recognize that our stakeholders have different views on China – BlackRock takes these concerns seriously,” the spokesperson explained. “We seek to balance the concerns of our stakeholders with our role as a global investor and fiduciary working for our clients as we navigate this very complicated relationship between the United States and China. Our approach to investments related to the China is consistent with US foreign policy.”
BlackRock, the world’s largest fund manager with over $10 trillion in assets under management, announced in January 2021 that it was committed to supporting the goal of achieving net zero gas emissions at greenhouse effect by 2050 or earlier. The company has made no secret of its commitment to decarbonization and sustainability.
In 2020, the asset management giant rolled out a series of climate-focused exchange-traded funds that screen companies with a certain level of investment in certain energy sectors such as coal and shale oil that environmentally conscious investors want to avoid.
BlackRock states on its website that its net zero initiative is important because “climate risk will fundamentally reshape finance and drive a significant reallocation of capital”, adding that the company believes “a successful and orderly net zero transition is in the pipeline.” financial interest” of their customers “and the economy as a whole”.
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink says the firm’s sustainable investing strategies are in high demand. He said on the company’s recent fourth quarter earnings call that “we’ve already seen $4 trillion of capital shift from traditional to sustainable investments in the past two years alone, and this is just the beginning. “.
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West Virginia is the second largest coal producer in the United States and the state ranks fifth in total energy production. About 4.6% of the state’s energy production comes from renewables such as hydroelectricity and wind power, according to the state’s Department of Economic Development.
BlackRock did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment on the West Virginia move.