World’s largest asset managers block climate action
Fresh analysis of asset managers’ 2022 proxy voting patterns reveals the world’s largest investors are backsliding on climate-related votes, mainly in the energy sector.
While 2022 was the hottest year on record for a number of countries globally, the world’s largest asset managers’ progress on climate action has cooled.
Investors filed a record number of shareholder resolutions relating to environmental and social issues during 2022’s proxy season. However, new analysis by non-profit ShareAction of how US, UK and European asset managers voted on these resolutions reveals that those with the biggest influence worked to block a number of key climate votes last year.
The overall share of support across surveyed investors for environmental or social resolutions (filed mainly in the US, with a handful from other countries) increased from 60% in 2021 to 66% last year, but this was mainly down to a surge of supportive votes from asset managers in Europe, where sustainability disclosures are tightening.
Overall, the total number of supportive votes from US and UK investors barely changed between 2021 and 2022. Worryingly, the data reveals how the world’s four largest asset managers – BlackRock, State Street Global Advisors, Vanguard Group and Fidelity Investments – have worked to block key climate votes going through.
This is particularly notable within the energy sector, where the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, went from supporting 72% of such votes in 2021 to just 16% in 2022.