Blackrock puts its mouth where its money is — votes against chairman of AB Volvo

Blackrock criticizes the lack of climate strategies at AB Volvo. At the general assembly, the US asset manager voted to prevent the reelection of the Swedish chairman of the truck manufacturer.
Larry Fink follows through on his promise to demand climate action. | Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix
Larry Fink follows through on his promise to demand climate action. | Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

At the digital general assembly in AB Volvo on Thursday, asset manager Blackrock expressed its dissatisfaction with the way that the board and chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg are managing the truck manufacturer and wanted to dismiss the chairman.

According to documents shown to Swedish business daily Dagens Industri, Blackrock opposed Carl-Henric Svanberg being reelected as chairman. The US asset manager owns 5 percent of shares in AB Volvo and is the tenth-largest investor in the company, which is separate from the Chinese-owned car manufacturer Volvo Cars.

Blackrock holds Svanberg responsible for the lack of sufficient information on how AB Volvo will reduce its climate impact and the risk climate change poses to the truck business, and the asset manager expects "comprehensive information" on long-term strategies of the company by next year.

By voting against the chairman at the general assembly, Blackrock is following the strategy that CEO Larry Fink outlined in his much-debated letter to corporate executives at the beginning of the year, reports Dagens Industri.

He wrote that investors will turn away from companies that cannot adequately show they are sustainable and climate smart sooner than most people expect.

"When we believe that companies and boards do not present good information on sustainability or have a plan for dealing with these issues, we will hold board members accountable," Larry Fink wrote.

According to the newspaper, Blackrock also voted against re-election of Matti Alahuhta, James Griffith and Martina Merz. Several of the board members have too many tasks, said the asset manager.

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