For several years, Mercy Investment Services has engaged major investment firms on their proxy voting records, namely on climate change resolutions, including BlackRock and JPMorgan Chase, two of the world’s largest asset managers. In 2019, Mercy led a dialogue with BlackRock because it supported fewer climate change resolutions in the prior proxy voting year than the previous year, and filed a shareholder resolution on the company’s approach to resolutions related to climate change.
In January 2020, Larry Fink, BlackRock’s CEO, sent a letter to companies and clients outlining their new position on climate change. The letter described the climate risk companies and investors faced, noted BlackRock’s expectations for companies in which they invested, and announced BlackRock would vote against boards with unacceptable climate positions.
Mercy Investment Services and Boston Trust Walden led additional dialogues to learn more about BlackRock’s position and the implications for votes on shareholder resolutions in the 2020 proxy season. BlackRock agreed to continue dialogue this summer, with a focus on 2020 climate votes, and an opportunity for shareholders to offer feedback. This progress led Mercy Investment Services and other co-filers to withdraw the resolution. Mercy Investment Services will closely monitor BlackRock’s proxy voting performance on climate to ensure their statements are translated into action, with the hope that BlackRock’s voting and engagements will lead to further positive company changes on climate issues.