January 9, 2020 / 4:42 PM / in 5 months

UPDATE 1-BlackRock joins investor group seeking emission curbs

(Adds context on investor group and BlackRock’s past voting record, activist comments)

By Ross Kerber

BOSTON, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Top asset manager BlackRock Inc said on Thursday it has joined the Climate Action 100+ investor group seeking emission curbs.

A spokesman for New York-based BlackRock said via e-mail that “evidence of the impact of climate risk on investment portfolios is building rapidly” and reiterated past comments the company will accelerate its talks with corporate executives on climate risk.

Climate Action 100+ was begun in 2017 and includes nonprofit organizations and investors including units of HSBC Holdings PLC , Manulife Financial Corp and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

With some $7 trillion under management BlackRock has an influential voice on how large corporations act on climate matters such as greenhouse gas emissions.

However to date BlackRock has taken few steps sought by critics such as backing shareholder resolutions calling for more emissions disclosures or giving details of its specific talks with corporate executives.

The BlackRock spokesman, Farrell Denby, did not provide more details or make executives available for comment

Several activists said they welcomed BlackRock’s step but are waiting to see what specific actions the asset manager might take.

“BlackRock needs to lend its voice to the many involved in CA100+ calling for no new investment in expanding fossil fuel production,” said Mark Campanale, chairman of London-based climate researcher Carbon Tracker, via e-mail.

In a statement on its website Climate Action 100+ steering committee member Mindy Lubber said that “With BlackRock’s commitment to the goals of the initiative, we will assuredly see more impactful results in tackling the global climate crisis.”

Reporting by Ross Kerber; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Andrea Ricci

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