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For Immediate Release

Ginny Cleaveland, Deputy Press Secretary, Fossil-Free Finance, Sierra Club,, 415-508-8498

Major Asset Managers Blackrock, State Street Testify on Climate at Texas Hearing

Sierra Club calls hearing ‘political theater of fossil fuel interests.'


Executives from two of the world's biggest asset managers -- BlackRock and State Street -- as well as proxy advisory firm ISS appeared today before a state senate committee in Marshall, Texas, to testify on their position on climate in the face of Republican backlash against environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies.

Notably missing from the hearing was the world's second largest asset manager Vanguard, after the Financial Times reported on Wednesday that the company was no longer required to attend the hearing due to recently leaving the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative. At that time, Sierra Club called out the company for greenwashing and said the move placed the asset manager even further behind its peers.

At the hearing, executives were asked to address their role in initiatives like CA100+, their participation in federal rulemaking on ESG standards, the role of climate risk in investment decisions, and whether their ESG policies may impact the state's public pensions. (A recent study revealed that failing to consider ESG factors is likely more costly, with a Texas anti-ESG law from 2021 costing taxpayers more than $500 million in the 8 months after it was passed.)

In response to the hearing, Jessye Waxman, Senior Campaign Representative in the Sierra Club's Fossil-Free Finance campaign, issued the following statements:

"In its testimony at a Texas Senate hearing, BlackRock's representative acknowledged climate risk is a material financial risk, but failed to state clearly that managing and mitigating said risk is an essential part of its fiduciary duty as a long-term investor. Rather than standing up for what's best for its clients and the entire economy, BlackRock's testimony kowtowed to politically-motivated, fossil fuel interests.

By contrast, State Street's representative testified it understands climate risk is a material financial risk, and part of putting its clients' financial interests first means addressing climate risk. State Street still has a long way to go in translating that conviction into its investment management and stewardship practices, but today, the company stood up to the political theater of fossil fuel interests.

In its testimony, a representative from ISS took the stance that the guidance in its benchmark policy is a reflection of the market, not activist interests. Texas Republicans would be wise to remember that the marketplace is increasingly moving in the direction of holding companies accountable on climate risk."


Over the past several months, media outlets, alongside major advocacy groups like the Sierra Club, have begun drawing attention to how Republicans are weaponizing public office against climate action. In an op-ed published in December 2022 in Sierra Magazine, Sierra Club Fossil-Free Finance Campaign Director Ben Cushing called the right-wing attack on sustainable finance the latest form of climate denial.

BlackRock recently disclosed that two-thirds of its largest clients, collectively representing $3.3 trillion in assets under management, have committed to support the energy transition through investments in their portfolios. This is almost 1,000 times the overall amount pulled from the asset manager so far by Republican-led states including Louisiana, West Virginia, and Texas.

Recent polling suggests the GOP's attempts to curb sustainable investing do not resonate with its base, with Republican registered voters opposing measures to restrict investor choice more than Democrats.

The Sierra Club is the most enduring and influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States. We amplify the power of our 3.8 million members and supporters to defend everyone's right to a healthy world.

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