Briefing

BlackRock reprimands Siemens for its poor environmental record

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The world’s largest asset manager called out the industrial conglomerate for not properly considering the “breadth of risks” linked to its involvement in an Australian coal-mining project. BlackRock urged Siemens to improve its risk assessment for environmental, social and governance issues. (Financial Times)

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Talking point: The public scolding is the first BlackRock has issued since implementing a new sustainability policy last month. The New York-based asset manager, which oversees US$7 trillion in investments, said it planned to vote against management at firms that weren’t making environmental progress, and would cull its actively managed portfolio of companies that gleaned over a quarter of their revenues from thermal coal. Following the announcement, some of Canada’s largest institutional investors told The Logic they’d follow suit. Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser admitted during the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday that management “failed to see the overall picture” when investing in the coal-mining project, though it didn’t commit to divestiture even after BlackRock’s rebuke.