Ninety-two European organisations – including Reclaim Finance – call on the European Commission to cancel the contract selecting BlackRock to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria into EU banking rules. The world’s largest asset manager invests heavily in fossil fuels and has already opposed the tightening of environmental criteria. Rife with conflicts of interest, this contract undermines the efforts to promote green and less carbon-intensive finance.

With more than US$ 6,000 billion worth of assets under management, BlackRock is the world’s largest investment manager. It is the leading investor in fossil fuels, with more than USD 87.3 billion invested in shares. It also invests in several banks that finance fossil fuels. BlackRock holds US$ 17.6 billion of coal developers bonds and shares.

Having a significant interest  in both fossil fuels and in the banks that will have to comply with ESG regulations and  considering that BlackRock has used its influence to lobby against these regulations in the past, the risk of a conflict of interest is extremely high.

The 92 signatories insist that the BlackRock study is likely to be strongly biased and thus to compromise the goals of the European sustainable finance strategy

Reclaim Finance stresses that the scale of BlackRock’s business allows it to lower its rates when applying for a public contract, only to reap the fruits of its labour in the rest of its business by taking advantage of the regulation it helped build.  This creates a “trust”, a quasi-monopoly, that is a cause for concern, especially given that BlackRock is becoming increasingly involved in public affairs amid the current health crisis.