Frontline Leaders Call on World's Two Biggest Asset Managers to Adopt Indigenous Rights & Deforestation Policy
In light of groundbreaking IPCC report, BlackRock and Vanguard have opportunity to implement concrete climate policy addressing land rights, deforestation, and human rights abuses in portfolios
What: Frontline leaders to hold a virtual press conference calling on BlackRock and Vanguard to adopt Indigenous rights and deforestation policies. BlackRock has yet to respond to a letter sent in March of 2021 signed by over 80 Goldman Prize winners, community leaders, environmental and land defenders, and activists from around the world demanding the company respect Indigenous and tribal peoples’ rights and stop financing the companies and industries driving violence and criminalization against land defenders, and environmental destruction. Vanguard has more than $1.5 billion invested in mining companies linked to Indigenous rights violations in the Brazilian Amazon, and billions more in debt and equity in agribusiness, oil, and energy companies operating in the region. It released a lackluster statement on Indigenous rights in 2020 and does not appear to be holding companies accountable for rights violations, based on its current investments.
The two firms have so far ignored this call to action from impacted communities, so frontline leaders are demanding that BlackRock and Vanguard respond. This call to action coincides with this year’s UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the theme of which is “Indigenous peoples, business, autonomy and the human rights principles of due diligence including Free, Prior and Informed Consent,” making this an ideal moment for the two investors to announce the concrete steps they're taking toward adopting due diligence policies on respect for Indigenous peoples and community rights.
The press conference comes just a month before BlackRock’s Annual General Meeting of Shareholders (AGM) on May 25, 2022, and two weeks after BlackRock issued interim climate targets that are promising, but lack clarity on action including regarding its approach to community impacts. Vanguard, for its part, has so far failed to publicly disclose its interim targets, thus failing to live up to the principles and commitments of the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative.
Andres Tapia, communications coordinator, Confederations of Indigenous Nations of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENIAE), Ecuador
Eloy Terena, Legal Advisor, Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), Brazil
Alfred Brownell, Environmental Human Rights Attorney, 2019 Goldman Prize Recipient, Green Advocates, Liberia
Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca Nation), Environmental Ambassador, Indigenous Rights Activist, and WECAN Board Member, USA
More panelists may be announced
When: Wednesday, April 27, 8 AM PT (check your time zone here)
Interviews and Multimedia: This event will be streamed on Zoom and on Facebook at Amazon Watch and WECAN. For additional interviews with our speakers or experts, please reach out to press contacts above.
Full analysis of BlackRock’s approaches (2021) to “natural capital” and human rights
Doubling Down on Deforestation (Friends of the Earth, 2020) analyzes BlackRock’s publicly listed investments to identify the supply chain links between the companies in which BlackRock is invested and deforestation and land conflict.
Complicity in Destruction IV (Amazon Watch, 2022) exposes mining companies exploiting or seeking to exploit Indigenous lands and the human rights violations in the Brazilian Amazon, in which financial institutions including BlackRock and Vanguard are complicit.
Investing in Amazon Crude (Amazon Watch, 2021) Together, the “Big Three” BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street hold $46 billion in oil companies, such as ENAP and Petroamazonas, operating in the Amazon.
BlackRock’s Big Deforestation Problem (Friends of the Earth, Amazon Watch, and Profundo, 2019) details BlackRock’s investments in companies driving deforestation, land grabs, and human rights abuses.
Gendered and Racial Impacts of the Fossil Fuel Industry in North America and Complicit Financial Institutions (WECAN 2021) investigates the disproportionate gender and race-specific health and safety impacts as well as human and Indigenous rights issues of the fossil fuel industry in North America and spotlights complicit financial institutions.
Vanguard’s Empty Promises (ACRE and Little Sis, 2022): Report examines how Vanguard’s ESG funds pour money into industries that fuel climate change and other harms in Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities.
Vanguard Group: Passive About Climate Change (IEEFA, 2021) compares Vanguard’s ‘net zero’ pledges to its holdings and weighs that against what is needed for the climate and investor interests.
Vanguard and Universal Ownership (Universal Owner, 2021) examines whether Vanguard behaves like a universal owner, whether it recognizes that it is in its enlightened self-interest to prevent the market from inflicting catastrophic climate change on itself.
The Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International
www.wecaninternational.org - @WECAN_INTL
The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is a 501(c)3 and solutions-based organization established to engage women worldwide in policy advocacy, on-the-ground projects, trainings, and movement building for global climate justice.