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EU: Drop the contract with BlackRock

What’s the problem?

The scandal broke in April 2020: BlackRock will advise the European Commission on sustainable banking rules – while itself is holding shares worth billions of dollars in European banks and fossil fuel companies. Even after massive criticism from civil society, the Commission said they will stick with BlackRock.

The EU claims to have ambitious plans to make banks and companies more sustainable. Yet, asking BlackRock to give advice on a centerpiece of its sustainability agenda shows that they are still too open to undue influence by big financial players. Letting big banks and investment funds set the agenda on sustainable finance is a recipe for disaster.

Why is BlackRock the wrong choice?

BlackRock’s goal as an asset manager is to create a return on the people’s money it is taking care of. If their investments into fossil fuels are hit by stricter rules or even discouraged to be invested in, BlackRock will make less money for their clients. It is not in BlackRock’s interest to have banking rules that take planet and people into account – it would directly harm their business.

Despite this conflict of interest, there are other problems: BlackRock itself has lobbied against the very rules they are hired to advise on. BlackRock is therefore a biased advisor on sustainability.


How can you make a difference?

Help us to make this case public and to create pressure from citizens. We teamed up with SumOfUs, the consumer watchdog group, to make your voice heard in the hallways of the Commission. We demand to cancel the contract with BlackRock. The more people like you sign our petition, the more likely it is the Commission will listen to us. Will you add your voice?

What has happened so far?

We’ve been on the case since the start. We mobilised European civil society with a widely supported open letter, raising strong concerns about conflict of interest and asking the European Commission to terminate the contract. They dismissed our concerns.

Click on the timeline items below to find out what happened since April 2020.

Timeline 2020

April: The scandal unfolds

May: Ombudswoman steps in

  • The European Ombudswoman, an independing authority that holds the EU institutions to account, opens a case after complaints by Change Finance and two Members of the European Parliament

June: The Commission's weak defence

  • The European Commission defends their choice of hiring BlackRock and dodges our questions in their answer to our open letter
  • Members of the European Parliament receive unsatisfactory answers from the European Commission to their questions

July: Citizens speak out

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About Change Finance

Change Finance is a civil society network that campaigns for reforms of the financial sector. With over 60 involved organisations, we aim to make finance serve people and the planet. Find out more.

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