BlackRock might support few ESG shareholder proposals this year
BlackRock is taking some heat for intending to vote against climate proposals. But this needn’t imply they’re not taking climate seriously; instead, the seriousness of the issue means that information and expertise are required and management/boards are often more informed than investors – some proposals may be micromanagement or prescribe one-size-fits-all approaches. To be sure, some companies may just be tone deaf to the issue (in which case changing management/boards might be even more effective solution than climate proposals, e.g. at Exxon), and I’ve written extensively on the value of engagement. But we should first think about what incremental value proposals will add rather than automatically making/supporting them; sometimes they may be to attract PR for the investor rather than to actually address the problem. Norges Bank Investment Management’s framework for which shareholder proposals to support/oppose is particularly helpful.