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BlackRock to Remain Firm on Climate Priorities Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

BlackRock officials who set the asset manager’s influential proxy votes Tuesday drafted more robust priorities tied to climate change and executive pay for the upcoming corporate annual meeting season.

BlackRock to Remain Firm on Climate Priorities Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

The comments fleshed out details about how the $7 trillion asset manager would cast its shareholder votes at a time of economic turmoil. BlackRock Chief CEO Larry Fink laid out a more forceful approach in January after criticism from investors.

Michelle Edkins, BlackRock’s world head of investment stewardship, stated in an interview Tuesday that the coronavirus outbreak is consuming corporate attention; however, it indicated that BlackRock will not reduce firm directors slack as it thinks over whether to go ahead with their re-election.

Absent progress the company expects it will vote against more administrators, she stated. In earlier years, it had supported directors nearly 97% of the time at Russell 3000 corporations, based on Proxy Insight.

Edkins additionally stated the pandemic may help resolve which companies have kept a long-interval focus and have strong human capital administration and business continuity plans.

BlackRock’s comments come as investors weigh what influence the coronavirus pandemic will have on efforts to gradual climate change.

Among other things, BlackRock this year will seek executive pay to correlate with long-term efficiency metrics such as firms’ total share dividends throughout three to five years, according to a fact sheet presented by the company.