NEW YORK – This morning, BlackRock Inc (NYSE:BLK) held its annual general meeting which presented shareholders with an opportunity to vote on seven resolutions, including CODEPINK’s War Is Not Green campaign resolution.
Entitled Impact Report for Climate-Related Human Risks of iShares U.S. Aerospace and Defense Exchange-Traded Fund (ITA), CODEPINK’s resolution calls for Blackrock to research and publish the climate impacts of its weapons investments.
CODEPINK’s resolution received 8-percent of the vote, which means 92-percent of BlackRock shareholders are comfortably greenwashing their weapons investments for personal profit. Shareholders were compelled to vote against the resolution in particular by the Board’s statement in opposition to it, which is riddled with misleading claims about the sustainability information provided for ITA.
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ITA is the investment vehicle for military weapons manufacturing giants like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon. This investment vehicle is the largest such fund that finances military contractors.
By using the weaponry developed by the companies in this fund, the US military has become the largest institutional emitter of greenhouse gasses globally. BlackRock is thus the planet’s biggest funder of military emissions.
During the meeting, Larry Fink repeated his classic line, “We are a fiduciary to our clients,” multiple times. This phrase is always used to conveniently explain away any responsibility BlackRock bears for the impacts of the companies it owns and funds.
He was dismissive of the climate resolutions that were up for vote, though they clearly stated that climate change is both a physical and financial risk to investors. In fact, he was unable to offer any response to the argument that climate change will cost investors trillions of dollars in the coming decades.
Greedy shareholders have the privilege of dismissing the worsening climate crisis for personal profit; however, working people in the Global South and front-line communities across the globe cannot. While Teddy Ogborn delivered a defense of the CODEPINK resolution, activists and community members gathered outside BlackRock headquarters in protest.
New York Communities for Change (NYCC) speakers who have experienced the impact of climate change firsthand in New York City were present. A member of NYCC, spoke about her experience caring for her children during Hurricane Sandy. Experiencing the climate crisis first-hand jolted her into action against the primary funders of fossil fuels.
Ogborn joined the protests after the vote and read the defense statement to rally participants. You can read the defense here.
About War Is Not Green Campaign
Funding endless war is an existential threat to human life and one of the leading causes of climate change. Together, we can demand an end to militarism and the harm it causes our planet while also diverting funds from the Pentagon to much-needed social services and a massive upscaling of our renewable, clean energy infrastructure. Learn more about CODEPINK’s War is Not Green campaign.