After several years of engaging investment firms on their responsible investing practices, Mercy Investment Services is celebrating a sea change of stewardship behaviors for BlackRock and other asset managers. This year, BlackRock supported approximately 63% of shareholder resolutions on climate-related issues, an improvement of more than 40% since last year. Vanguard and T. Rowe Price supported 72% and 73%, respectively.
In addition to these record levels of shareholder resolution support, BlackRock and other asset managers began voting against certain corporate board directors whose companies exhibit lax oversight of climate strategy and disclosure. In the 2021 proxy voting year, BlackRock voted against 255 directors for climate-related reasons.
Mercy Investment Services’ first resolution with BlackRock on its lack of support for climate-related resolutions was withdrawn in 2019 after reaching agreement with the company. In 2020, after BlackRock failed to improve its voting support, Mercy refiled and was able to withdraw the resolution after observing a positive shift in the company’s voting patterns. BlackRock explained that their research showed that supporting shareholder resolutions on material climate issues often led to companies making improvements such as disclosures and net zero emissions commitments.
Mercy Investment Services will continue to encourage large asset managers’ efforts to align their voting with our concerns for Earth.