Advertisement
UK markets closed
  • FTSE 100

    8,252.91
    +29.57 (+0.36%)
     
  • FTSE 250

    21,202.89
    +13.98 (+0.07%)
     
  • AIM

    786.17
    +4.64 (+0.59%)
     
  • GBP/EUR

    1.1903
    +0.0024 (+0.21%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.2990
    +0.0075 (+0.58%)
     
  • Bitcoin GBP

    45,046.91
    +1,078.25 (+2.45%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,227.62
    +29.05 (+2.42%)
     
  • S&P 500

    5,615.35
    +30.81 (+0.55%)
     
  • DOW

    40,000.90
    +247.15 (+0.62%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    82.18
    -0.44 (-0.53%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    2,416.00
    -5.90 (-0.24%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    41,190.68
    -1,033.34 (-2.45%)
     
  • HANG SENG

    18,293.38
    +461.05 (+2.59%)
     
  • DAX

    18,748.18
    +213.62 (+1.15%)
     
  • CAC 40

    7,724.32
    +97.19 (+1.27%)
     

Blackrock to face round two with activist investor as anti-ESG pressure builds

Blackrock is facing a second round with activist investor Bluebell over ESG
Blackrock is facing a second round with activist investor Bluebell over ESG

Activist investor Bluebell Capital Partners is set to square up to BlackRock in a fight over the latter’s approach to environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing.

According to a piece in The Times today, the firm is re-doubling efforts to take a swing at the world’s largest asset manager, which counts over $10 trillion in AUM, on the grounds that the latter’s ESG stance exposes it to reputational risk.

Following a similar provocation in 2022 which led to no change in the fund’s strategy, Bluebell is back on the offensive again and it is understood to be lining up the publication of a critique of the fund manager’s ESG-related direction ahead of its AGM.

ADVERTISEMENT

In 2020 BlackRock’s chief, Larry Fink, wrote to clients that sustainability should be a “new standard of investing” and laid out plans that included the removal of companies that generate more than a quarter of their revenues from thermal coal from its actively managed portfolios.

In the following four years, BlackRock’s sustainable asset portfolio has jumped around eight per cent.

Around the time of Fink’s announcement, Bluebell took a stake in the firm and wrote a letter to him stating that it was not the company’s role to “direct the public debate on climate and energy policies or impose ideological beliefs on the corporate world.”

Bluebell also claimed BlackRock to be a hypocritical investor for failing to call out the dumping of waste in the Mediterranean by Belgian chemical company, Solvay, in which it has a stake.

BlackRock has also angered others for its approach to ESG principles.

The firm has been blasted stateside by Republican politicians and like-minded investors, including for pushing what Florida governor and failed Republican nominee runner Ron DeSantis described as a “left-wing agenda”.

Bluebell is in the midst of a similar brawl with BP over the petrogiant’s green energy policies, claiming that they are hampering shareholder returns where its rivals are not.

In January, BlackRock announced it would be cutting around 600 staff – or three per cent of its global workforce.

“Each year, activists and others wage campaigns at certain companies in order to advance their own individual agendas. The money BlackRock manages doesn’t belong to these activists or anyone else with an agenda – it belongs to our clients, and we will continue to manage their money consistent with their long-term goals and objectives”.

Bluebell Capital Partners was approached for comment.