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Organizers held actions in New York to say that though their CEO claims to be environmentally conscious, BlackRock contributes more to climate change than almost any other company on Earth

Story Transcript

VIDEO: Climate activists have launched a campaign to hold $6 trillion asset manager BlackRock accountable for financing climate change.

CLARA VONDRICH: BlackRock is one of the most important companies you’ve never heard of. With $6.3 trmillions in assets, it’s the largest asset manager in the world, and it’s also one of the biggest funders of climate destruction worldwide.

LUKAS ROSS: It is the biggest investor in the U.S. in rainforest destruction, it is the biggest investor in coal plants in the developing world, and it is one of the largest investors in oil and gas.

CASEY HARRELL: Basically, if you have a publicly traded company, BlackRock is most likely your number one, two, or three shareholder, anywhere around the world.

VIDEO: The campaign is called BlackRock’s Big Problem.

LUKAS ROSS: If you wanna talk about keeping fossil fuels in the ground, if you wanna talk about making the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, you cannot talk about doing that unless we talk about fixing BlackRock.

CLARA VONDRICH: We really believe that investors, with their trillions in assets, have the power to make or break the future.

VIDEO: At an asset managers meeting, and then outside BlackRock’s NYC headquarters, activists spread the word.

LUKAS ROSS: We also can’t talk about addressing the fundamental human rights and humanitarian crisis of our time, climate change, unless we’re willing to take on behemoths like Blackrock head on.

VIDEO: Earlier this year, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink shook the corporate world when he said capitalism must change to avoid climate catastrophe. But activists say BlackRock itself has to make big changes.

CLARA VONDRICH: Larry Fink should be ashamed.

CASEY HARRELL: And that’s what this campaign’s about. It’s sort of highlighting the duplicity between words and actions between what BlackRock and Larry Fink say and what they’re doing.

VIDEO: And their demands of Fink and Blackrock are bold.

LUKAS ROSS: Divest from fossil fuel companies that will not change their practices. Another is make sure that he’s prioritizing funds that are free from fossil fuels and free from deforestation.

CASEY HARRELL: We’re also asking BlackRock to align its investments with the Paris climate agreement, something that many other investors are in the process of doing.

CLARA VONDRICH: Stop climate destruction, stop funding fossil fuels, stop funding coal fire in the developing world, and divest now.

VIDEO: We reached out to BlackRock for response. They said:

“BlackRock has invested more in renewable power projects than virtually any other asset manager in the world,” and “Third-party index providers determine which companies to include in the indices they create.”

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Dharna Noor is a staff writer at Earther, Gizmodo's climate vertical.