2023 Shareholder Resolution | BlackRock Inc. | Impact Report for Climate-Related Human Risks of iShares US Defense and Aerospace Exchange-Traded Fund
Whereas: The iShares US Defense and Aerospace exchange-traded fund (NYSE: “ITA”) is a popular investment vehicle that gives investors exposure to the defense and aerospace industries. However, recent developments in these industries have raised concerns about the risks of investing in ITA, particularly in light of the global human cost of the defense and aerospace industry vis à vis the climate crisis.
One area of concern is the potential impact of technological disruption on the defense and aerospace industries, with a particular focus on the development of clean energy technologies. Advances in technology are likely to change the competitive landscape in these industries, potentially affecting the companies included in ITA.
A major area of concern that shareholders should be made aware of is the wide-reaching environmental and social impact of the defense and aerospace industries on global human health and well-being. The production and use of military equipment can have negative environmental consequences, particularly via dangerously large emissions of greenhouse gasses (“GHG”). The development of ITA companies’ products enables war and conflict; conflict in turn increases fossil fuel dependence and usage, and exposes fossil fuel infrastructure to destruction and sabotage, causing leaks that may be immediately hazardous to the surrounding environment and massively lethal in their long-term contribution to climate change. The climate crisis itself fuels regional conflict, as disasters such as mass displacement, flooding, and crop failure are made more likely as a result of rising temperatures. This impact perpetuates and compounds the risk created by companies in ITA. Global temperatures will not stop rising until GHG emissions are cut drastically. This is of particular concern to shareholders themselves, whose own well-being and posterity are put at risk by the worsening climate crisis.
Therefore, it is crucial for BlackRock to assess the potential material risks to all stakeholders of ITA, with a focus on the global human cost resulting from the climate crisis, and provide a report to shareholders. This report should include an analysis of the potential impacts of the actions of defense and aerospace companies, technological disruption, and environmental and social factors on the global human cost of investing in ITA.
Resolved: Shareholders request the Board, at reasonable expense and excluding proprietary, confidential, or legally privileged information, prepare and publish a report on the potential material risks to all stakeholders of ITA, with a focus on the global human and environmental cost of investing in ITA.
Supporting Statement: The report should display both a) the immediate environmental and human impacts of weaponry developed by companies listed in ITA, as well as b) the short- and long-term effects of GHG emissions resulting from ITA-funded weaponry and aerospace development, in terms which make clear the human harm caused by these GHG emissions.