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BlackRock Announces Shift Away From Funding Dirty Tar Sands

New York, NY - Today, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, announced that one of its fastest-growing sustainable funds will stop investing in tar sands, one of the dirtiest fuel sources on the planet. 

Last month, in response to growing public pressure, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink announced a new set of policies that aim to put climate change and sustainability at the center of BlackRock’s business model, including divesting BlackRock’s actively managed funds from thermal coal and expanding BlackRock’s offerings of environmentally responsible funds. 

Members of the BlackRock’s Big Problem network issued the following statements in response to today’s announcement: 

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Sierra Club Campaign Representative Ben Cushing said: “We’re glad to see BlackRock start to act on its commitments and recognize that centering climate in its business decisions means cutting funding not only for coal but for all climate-destabilizing investments including dirty tar sands oil. This is an important step in the right direction. BlackRock should exclude tar sands from all its climate funds and make these funds the default option for investors. When BlackRock acts, asset managers like State Street and Vanguard follow -- and we'll be making sure they do.”

Amazon Watch Climate & Finance Director Moira Birss said: “The exclusion of tar sands from sustainable funds is a clear indication that BlackRock is beginning to put its recent climate commitments into action; however, more steps are needed. Oil and gas extraction of all kinds are destroying our climate, especially in sensitive ecosystems like the Amazon. BlackRock and other asset managers must rapidly ramp up climate-risk standards across sustainable funds as well as their entire portfolios.”

BlackRock’s Big Problem is a global network of NGOs and social movements that are pushing asset managers like BlackRock to align their business practices with a climate-safe world. That means divesting from fossil fuel companies that won’t change their practices, prioritizing fossil and deforestation free funds, and more actively pushing companies they own to align their businesses with the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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