BlackRock Inc., the investment firm put on a black list by Oklahoma for its ESG strategy and policies is in more trouble over the controversial use of disciminating against oil and gas.
Now the company has been sued by the state of Tennessee for allegedly breaching consumer protection laws by making “misleading” statements about ESG, reported Bloomberg.
The State Attorney General claimed BlackRock funds that don’t take into account ESG factors are beingh unfairly impacted by the firm’s membership in climate groups. Jonathan Skrmetti’s complaint also said the ESG strategy also ignores shareholder-voting records and the pressure it puts on companies to meet environmental goals.
“BlackRock has engaged in a series of unlawful ESG-related misrepresentations and omissions in connection with the marketing or sale of its investment products and services to Tennessee consumers,” Skrmetti said in the complaint.
BlackRock has faced a number of financial challenges in other states and not just in Oklahoma where State Treasurer Todd Russ banned the firm through use of a state law that forbids discrimination against oil and gas companies. As a result, BlackRock investments cannot involve state pensions that are worth billions of dollars.
BlackRock denied the claims in the Tennessee lawsuit saying he invested nearly $40 billion in the state and “we are proud of our contribution and committed to the future in Tennessee,” reported Bloomberg.
The lawsuit contends BlackRock changed statements about the financial impact of ESG between 2021 and 2022 and voted against Exxon Mobil Corp. because it failed to set targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The attorney general also pointed to BlalckRock’s membership in the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative and Climate Action 100+ which are groups that use their financial power to lower corporate greenhouse gases.