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BlackRock Hosts Global Summit Focused on Sustainability

BlackRock |Jul 08, 2020

Summit was the largest client event in firm history, reflecting accelerating interest in sustainable investing

July 8, 2020 – Drawing its largest audience ever for a client event, BlackRock convened its first Global Summit to explore the role of sustainability in investing and how it might help the global economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The two-day virtual summit attracted approximately 3,000 investment professionals from 60 countries for in-depth conversations with senior BlackRock executives, corporate CEOs and leaders from other asset managers, nonprofits and pension funds on sustainability as a critical component of both investing and a more resilient economy. Broadcasting across time zones on June 23 & 24, the summit included 15 panels, 38 speakers and regional sessions tailored to clients in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific seeking to answer a timely question: Can sustainability accelerate recovery?

Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock, delivered the keynote fireside chat, A Fundamental Reshaping of Finance, where he shared his thinking on why the coronavirus pandemic will accelerate investors’ interest in sustainability and lead to more companies embracing stakeholder capitalism. Commenting on the summit he said:

“It was a pleasure to welcome to our virtual stage leading thinkers in sustainability and sustainable investing. As I wrote in January, it is BlackRock’s conviction that climate risk is an investment risk. Since that time, we have also seen the tremendous toll of COVID-19, which has only reinforced the importance of building sustainable economies and investing for the long term.

“It was a privilege to share with so many BlackRock clients my perspectives on the need for every company to operate with a sense of purpose in focusing on all of their stakeholders. Our research1 tells us that companies built on sustainable foundations, will continue to be rewarded by the market over the long term.”

Deriving from BlackRock’s conviction that sustainability-integrated portfolios can deliver better risk-adjusted returns and more resilient portfolios, the BlackRock Global Summit follows BlackRock's commitment to make sustainability its standard for investing. Featured sessions at the summit included: the growth and performance of sustainable investments, corporate governance, the circular economy, sustainability in retirement, the global energy transition, ESG integration into investment processes, and how senior corporate leaders and companies are incorporating sustainability into their businesses.

Among the highlights of the conference were contributions from many leaders across BlackRock and the broader investment community:

“Our investment conviction is that effectively managing material ESG risks in portfolios is essential to delivering better risk adjusted returns over the long-term. Our analysis of 32 globally-representative, widely analyzed sustainable indices shows that through multiple market downturns in 2015-2016, 2018 and earlier this year, the majority outperformed their non-sustainable counterparts, driven by a range of sustainability characteristics.1 COVID-19 didn't cause sustainability factors to outperform – it shined a spotlight on their increasing importance and relevance.”Brian Deese, Global Head of BlackRock Sustainable Investing

“Sustainable investing is not a political movement or a values judgement. It’s an investment philosophy that asks what’s the best way to build an economy? What’s the best way to build a resilient company and business? As it turns out, effectively managing your business for all stakeholders actually makes your business more resilient over the long term. As investors, if you don’t incorporate sustainability into your investment process, you’re actually not fulfilling your fiduciary duty to your clients.”David Blood, co-founder and Senior Partner at Generation Investment Management

“We believe that sustainable companies are better positioned to generate long-term investment returns for our investors. We’re committed to helping clients navigate society’s transition to a more sustainable economy and will use our votes to hold companies to account when they are moving too slowly or when their disclosures lack compelling targets and a sensible business strategy to manage ESG risk and opportunities.”Sandy Boss, Global Head of BlackRock Investment Stewardship

“As an asset owner, we have both the opportunity to allocate capital to sustainability solutions, where they meet our risk-return objectives, and the responsibility to use our influence with companies to avoid short-termism and drive more sustainable, long-term focused business practices. To be a good investor, you’ve got to understand how sustainability-related drivers are increasingly influencing the investment universe and our investment opportunities. Sustainable economic growth and sustainable investing are in the best interest of our investment returns and ultimately our beneficiaries, but also in the best interest of our global community and the environment.”Kirsty Jenkinson, Head of Sustainable Investment & Stewardship Strategies at the California State Teachers’ Retirement System

“There’s vast economic potential if we shift towards a circular economy model. When you start to realize that circular opportunity, you also start to realize a massive environmental benefit. There’s been a huge shift in businesses saying ‘we need to fix this’ and ‘we can only do this if we collaborate.’ Despite the uncertainty of the coronavirus crisis, there is a distinct opportunity there to rebuild things differently.”Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Participants also have access to on-demand content on sustainability, including BlackRock Investment Institute research, The Bid podcasts and BlackRock Bottom Line videos. BlackRock will share session replays and excerpts from the Global Summit at

BlackRock is committed to helping clients navigate the transition to a lower carbon economy by integrating sustainability into its investment process to build more resilient portfolios, creating innovative sustainable investment solutions that meet investors’ needs and engaging with companies to improve sustainability disclosures and business practices.

As of March 31, 2020, BlackRock manages US$101 billion in our dedicated sustainable investment platform, including ESG outcome-oriented, sustainable thematic and impact funds across equities, fixed income and alternative investments. This includes US$65 billion in solutions that support the global energy transition. The firm offers more than 150 sustainable mutual funds and ETF solutions for clients, which represents the world’s largest line-up of sustainable index products. We manage an additional US$481 billion of assets across BlackRock’s broader platform that utilize environmental, social or governance screens.

1 Sustainable investing: Resilience amid uncertainty


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