From the Amazon to New York: Indigenous and Civil Society Leaders Hold Rally at BlackRock to Demand World's Biggest Asset Manager Stop Financing Climate Crisis
During Climate Week, over 100 activists joined frontline leaders to Call Upon BlackRock to Stop Financing Climate Disruption by Divesting from Fossil Fuels and Deforestation, and Adopting an Indigenous Rights Policy
New York, New York — Today, Frontline leaders from the Amazon to the US and over 100 activists held a rally outside BlackRock headquarters to demand the asset manager stop financing the climate crisis by divesting from fossil fuels and deforestation, and adopting an Indigenous rights policy.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) both make it clear that one of the necessary steps to aligning with the Paris Climate Agreement, and keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees, is to stop the expansion of fossil fuel extraction. Within this context, BlackRock has a role to play as the world’s biggest asset manager and a top investor in fossil fuels and deforestation.
Despite Net-Zero pledges through its membership to the Net Zero Asset Manager Initiative (NZAM), BlackRock continues to support the expansion of fossil fuels, with nearly $260 billion invested in fossil fuel companies around the world.
During the rally, speakers spotlighted the devastating impacts BlackRock’s investments are having in communities from the Amazon to New York City. Speakers called for BlackRock to end its investment in extractive projects that lead to increasing CO2 emissions and deforestation in the Amazon and beyond.
“BlackRock holds over $6 billion in large mining companies that pollute our waters, destroy our forests, and threaten our communities. We will not allow this destruction of our territories to continue. BlackRock must cease its investments in companies that violate Indigenous rights and destroy our lands,” stated Dinamam Tuxá, coordinator of the Association of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples (APIB).
Speakers also urged BlackRock to adopt an Indigenous Rights Policy, developed with Indigenous Peoples to ensure an end to the destruction of Indigenous lands and violation of sovereignty and rights.
“Sovereignty and self-determination for Indigenous peoples is the only way to effectively fight climate change and deforestation. Indigenous peoples of the Amazon are the original stewards of the forest, and our rights must be respected. No financial institution that is accomplice and invests in the destruction of our territories can be considered an ally in the fight against climate change,” shared Toya Manchineri, coordinator of the Coordinating Body of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB)
A livestream of the event can be found here. Photos are available upon request.
This action was co-organized by Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN), The Sunrise Project, Amazon Watch, New York Communities for Change, United Confederation of Taíno People, SEMILLA WARUNKWA, ProtectTheSacredNYC, 350NYC, and 350Brooklyn.
Rally speakers included: Steven Smith, Representative of the local Ramapo Lenape Peoples, Dinamam Tuxá, Coordinator of the Association of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples - APIB; Toya Manchineri, Coordinator of the Coordinating Body of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB); Jasmin Romero Epiayu - Indigenous feminist activist Wayuu people, Esther Crow - local singer/songwriter and representative from New York Families for Climate, Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN); Representative of the Ramapo Lenape (Land acknowledgement); Rachel Rivera, Hurricane Sandy Survivor and representative from New York Communities for Change; R. Múkaro Agüeibaná Borrero, President, United Confederation of Taíno People; and Emcee Xiomara Chingate, Indigenous Muysca Activist and Asset Managers Organizer at The Sunrise Project.
"Devastating storms like Sandy or Fiona cause serious damage to homes and lives. I regret that my experience will be repeated by many other families. I join my friends from the Amazon regions to tell you - that from Puerto Rico, to the shores of NYC to Brazil, these events will grow in number, power and scale. And that BlackRock is directly profiting by facilitating investments that lead to the heating of the ocean and planet. There cannot be one more fossil fuel investment." Rachel Rivera, Hurricane Sandy Survivor, Representative of New York Communities for Change (NYCC)
"The continuous aggressive destruction of Mother Earth does not only affect Indigenous Peoples. We DEMAND Blackrock stops funding destruction...It's a crime against Humanity and all life forms on Mother Earth." Claudia Velandia-Onofre, SEMILLA WARUNKWA, and ProtectTheSacredNYC
"The IPCC and IEA could not be more clear, we must end our global dependence on fossil fuels to protect people and the planet. As a leading investor of fossil fuels, BlackRock has a responsibility to listen to science, and implement policies that align with the Paris Agreement, respect human and Indigenous rights, and invest in a just and sustainable future for our communities and our planet. Business as usual must not and cannot continue, we need bold climate policies in the financial sector now." Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director, Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN)
“On paper, BlackRock says it supports the rights of Indigenous peoples and recognizes the dangers of climate change to communities and economies, yet BlackRock has done little to nothing to address its outsized role in bankrolling the very industries abusing Indigenous rights and driving climate chaos. BlackRock must wind down investment in fossil fuels and deforestation-driving commodities, and operationalize respect for Indigenous rights.” Moira Birss, Climate & Finance Director, Amazon Watch (she/her)
“BlackRock’s continued investments in the fossil fuel industry is an insult to community members, health professionals, and climate researchers. Check out these websites to learn more about this issue: https://fossilfreeresearch.com and https://climatesafepensions.org. Our campaigns are united in ending the financial ties between the health and research sectors of the fossil fuel industry— and its enablers, including BlackRock. Fossil Free Research and First, Do No Harm stand firmly behind the Indigenous and youth-led frontline climate activists calling on BlackRock to end its massive and unjust fossil fuel financing.” – Aden Singh (she/her), College Climate Coalition Coordinator, Fossil Free Research activist @FosFreeResearch (Twitter); and Don Lieber (he/him), Founder and Coordinator, First, Do No Harm campaign for healthcare divestment @Docs4Divestment (Twitter)
Full analysis of BlackRock’s approaches (2021) to “natural capital” and human rights
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 2022) 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.
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.