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Top Ten Reasons to Protest BlackRock

11 May 2020

  1. BlackRock is profiting off the suffering of world economies and exploiting COVID-19 to further consolidate its global power. As average Americans continue to struggle, more and more are speaking out about the government's prioritization of "money over morality." Not only has the U.S. government granted BlackRock a seat at the bailout table, but BlackRock is also helping the Bank of Canada with its bailout. BlackRock's stands to benefit from the current economic crisis. Even though the Feds made a poor decision in putting BlackRock at the helm of a few Bailout programs, we can still demand that our taxpayer dollars be used to bail out the people and not the weapon and oil companies. 

  2. BlackRock's stake in unclean energy, weapons, and war threatens the integrity of the E.U. 's environmental guidelines for banks that BlackRock is responsible for developing. In April, BlackRock won a contract to help the European Union (E.U.) develop new environmental guidelines for banks— a choice that has our heads spinning. As the largest financier of unclean energy, BlackRock is not only incompetent but incredibly biased. Civil society organizations are urging the European Union (E.U.) Commission to cancel the recent contract with BlackRock Investment Management (U.K.). The company was selected to advise the Commission on the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks into E.U. banking rules and supervision, as well as working to insert ESG objectives into banks' business and investment strategies. The E.U.'s selection of BlackRock sends a harmful message, one that undermines the credibility and reputation of the European Commission's European Green Deal and sustainable finance policy before it has even begun. Choosing BlackRock as the adviser is a grave mistake - their position is strongly biased; they have zero credibility and a track record of working towards weakening the very ESG rules they are being hired to advise on. Ninety-two organizations are asking the E.U. Commission to cancel its contract giving BlackRock a vital role in ESG integration in the E.U. The conflict of interest is obvious. Tell the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen: Do not put the cat among the pigeons.

  3. BlackRock is financing the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest. BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, has invested billions in the industries responsible for the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest. Even though BlackRock says that it will focus on environmental sustainability, it continues to invest in companies that slash and burn the planet's lungs. BlackRock is cashing in on the destruction of the Amazon by investing millions in oil, mining, and agribusinesses that not only destroy the rainforests but displace indigenous communities. Additionally, BlackRock decided to invest its money in the Brazilian meatpacking company JBS, another company that contributes to deforestation. The destruction of the Amazon Rainforest is at an all-time high.

  4. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink continues business relations with the Saudi Crown Prince, who is responsible for leading a war on Yemen, imprisoning women's rights activists, and the murder of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. After five years, the Saudi-led war on Yemen has devastated the country, resulting in the suffering and death of the most vulnerable. In 2018, the Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Geert Cappelaere, estimated that 400,000 children under the age of five are suffering from malnutrition, and 30,000 children under the age of five are dying every year. The situation in Yemen has been labeled as the world's worst humanitarian crisis in the poorest country in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has been accused of war crimes for rape, torture, and aerial attacks. Along with leading a war on Yemen, the regime is waging a separate war on women's rights. Not only has Saudi Arabia has been ranked the third-worst country in the world on women's equality, according to a  U.S. News & World Report survey, but the murder of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi is one of the worst crimes the world has witnessed. The United Nations, the CIA, and some Western governments have charged that the Saudi Crown Prince ordered Khashoggi's murder. A year after the killing, Fink jetted off to Saudi Arabia to continue investment work and even opened a BlackRock office in Riyadh. Larry Fink's relationship runs deep with the Crown Prince, as it was reported that the two BFF's spend time texting one another. Larry Fink and BlackRock may have the expertise to manage assets and advise on bailing out economies, but the company intentionally ignores the most egregious crimes committed by a country such as Saudi Arabia.

  5. BlackRock promotes investing in companies that sell weapons used in war and conflict around the world. BlackRock is the largest asset manager in the world. Controlling more than $7 trillion in assets, BlackRock has been described as the world's largest shadow bank. They own the iShares franchise of investment funds, as well as other proprietary investment vehicles. BlackRock's iShares U.S. Aerospace and Defense ETF is fully loaded with companies responsible for the U.S.'s nuclear arsenal. Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman are responsible for the maintenance, production, and development of missiles.

  6. BlackRock's investments are responsible for poisoning the air and water in the U.S. and across the globe. Given BlackRock's small brushstrokes of sustainability, it remains unsustainable because of its war investments. The firm has no credibility when the very companies it invests in contribute to the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases-- the U.S. military -- with its fighter jets, missiles, bombs, and nuclear weapons. The weapon companies that BlackRock promotes have been accused of groundwater contamination, misconduct, labor violations, and overinflated pricing, resulting in overbilling defense contracts issued by the federal government. Investments in weapons companies are a risk to the climate. If BlackRock wants to make an impact, it could apply pressure onto weapon companies. It could divest. Now, divestment is not a "niche" idea; for example, Amalgamated Bank announced that it does not invest in weapons, and the bank even went so far as to sign the 2017 Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. BlackRock has the potential to change for the best. Tell BlackRock that war is not green.

  7. BlackRock's investments profit from war and conflict in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan—the wars which are fueling the global refugee crisis. It is the weapons companies, private prisons, and asset management firms like BlackRock that stand to gain a profit from war and migration. By investing in publicly traded weapons companies, BlackRock holds a stake in the wars that these companies supply and, therefore, profits from the conflict that drives people from their homes in desperation. BlackRock's profits don't end there. As the largest investor in U.S. private prison companies, BlackRock also benefits from the detention and imprisonment of the refugees they, in part, help create. Now, as COVID-19 infiltrates ill-equipped migrant camps and detention centers across the globe, refugees are put at higher risk of contracting and dying from the virus while BlackRock lines its pockets. Weapons manufacturers, private prison companies, and BlackRock, which invests heavily in both industries, continue to brazenly turn a profit while migrants and refugees suffer.

  8. Investments in weapons companies, both military and civilian, run counter to BlackRock's statements about holding companies accountable to be good corporate citizens. At the end of 2017, the CEO of BlackRock, Larry Fink, announced that he was going to start holding companies accountable to be good corporate citizens. In 2020, Mr. Fink's statement rings hollow, while BlackRock continues to profit from the most morally corrupt companies in the world. To highlight money, BlackRock has invested billions in weapons manufacturers: General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Boeing.

  9. BlackRock is profiting from weapons of war made by Lockheed Martin. BlackRock profits from death and destruction. BlackRock has billions invested in Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin is partly responsible for the innocent lives lost in Yemen. The company's arms sales to Saudi Arabia only contribute to the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in the region, which creates strong resentment towards the U.S. and contributes to the rise of violent extremism. The most concerning point about Lockheed Martin is the August 2018 attack on a Yemeni school bus in which roughly forty innocent children were killed, and seventy-seven were wounded returning from a field trip. It was reported that the bomb used in the attack was made by Lockheed Martin. Human Rights Watch states that the attack on the school bus was an apparent war crime. Lockheed Martin jets, helicopters, and missiles have also been used in numerous Israeli assaults on the Gaza Strip, which predominantly killed innocent civilians. A study done by the Defense for Children International into the 2014 assault on Gaza determined that at least 225 of the 550 children killed in the 50-day assault, died from Israeli warplane attacks, including by Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets.

  10. BlackRock invests in General Dynamic, a weapons manufacturer that has taken a contract from the government to provide "social services" to migrant children at U.S. detention camps. BlackRock maintains significant stakes in weapons companies such as General Dynamics, a military contractor that profits from those who are suffering. General Dynamics has taken a government contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide "social services" to migrant children held at U.S. detention camps. By investing in General Dynamics, BlackRock is directly profiting from G.D.'s involvement in border militarization and the detention of children. Putting pressure on shareholders is how we can start to shift the conversation around how we treat immigrants and others who are disproportionately impacted by our war policies. 

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