In New Zealand, BlackRock has cemented its position as an international player in the climate transition

In New Zealand, BlackRock has cemented its position as an international player in the climate transition

American management company BlackRock, which is in trouble in its country due to partisan and political bickering between supporters and opponents of ESG, continues to build an image as a central player in the climate transition in the rest of the world. That is, even if many NGOs have judged by publishing several studies that the manager is far from being the most forward-looking in its efforts to achieve its carbon neutrality goals and align with the Paris Climate Agreement. But the fact is out there, it’s BlackRock that many governments are claiming as part of their transition.

To help it achieve its carbon neutrality ambition by 2050, New Zealand has just called in a US asset manager. On Tuesday 8 August, the New Zealand government announced the launch of the Climate and Environmental Technology Infrastructure Fund (CTIF).Clean technology) in the amount of two billion New Zealand dollars (1.1 billion euros) to be managed by BlackRock. Its goal is to help the country become one of the first in the world to run entirely on renewable electricity. “With countries around the world grappling with the impacts of climate change on a daily basis, investing in technologies that will help solve the climate crisis has never been more urgent, and New Zealand is well placed to welcome these investments.” , New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said.

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The New Zealand government is counting on this fund to accelerate domestic investments in solar, wind, green hydrogen and battery electricity storage, all critical infrastructures to support a low carbon economy. It also publicly calls on institutions, including local public pension funds (the retirement), and the private sector to invest in the structure established with the American manager.

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For BlackRock, the deal offers it the opportunity to strengthen its position in energy infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, which it has been eyeing most since August 2022. Last summer, the company acquired Australian electricity storage developer Akaysha Energy batteries and pledged to invest no It is less than one billion Australian dollars to enhance this kind of infrastructure in the country and thus the production of domestic electricity. At the time, Charlie Reid, co-director of BlackRock’s Asia Pacific Climate Infrastructure team, saw a $400 billion opportunity in the region.

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initiatives and mergers

The association between BlackRock and the New Zealand government is reminiscent of the launch of a program Climate Finance PartnershipIt is also managed and regulated by the American principal in the form of an investment fund. France and Germany, via the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Credit Foundation for the Reconstruction of the German Economy (kfw), have chosen BlackRock to direct capital towards climate-related projects in developing countries. The Japanese government also contributed to the fund through the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), as well as several institutions and institutional investors. BlackRock, which has invested $20 million in the initiative, has raised about $673 million, including 523 from foundations and 130 from governments.

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Middle East also called the company BlackRock Infrastructure. The director contacted Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) in November 2022. The two parties signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding including implementation of BlackRock’s infrastructure strategy in the MENA region and joint exploration. Of the infrastructure projects in the Middle East, the majority of investments are concentrated in Saudi Arabia. Energy, electricity, water, environment, transportation, communications and social infrastructure are among the targeted sectors. However, Saudi Arabia is also aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050, which indicates that BlackRock’s infrastructure projects in the kingdom will have a green tint.

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Greenpeace is suspicious

However, the launch of the joint climate infrastructure fund of BlackRock and the New Zealand government causes distrust of the environmental organization Greenpeace. In a statement, Greenpeace welcomed the news but was concerned “It is a heavy reliance on private financing to achieve the 100% renewable energy targets.”

The organization points to the fact that other countries have been able to accelerate the deployment of renewable energies by allowing their own populations and communities to benefit from them and by getting them to join their projects.. “The New Zealand government has announced a deal that puts renewable energy in the hands of foreign private investors (…) We fear that these projects will be imposed without the consent of the local population”Greenpeace address.

In New Zealand, BlackRock already knows it will not attract support from a minority of the local population. In May 2022, former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern found herself in the crosshairs of domestic and even international conspiratorial scopes on social networks after visiting the management company’s headquarters in New York. A New Zealander has gone so far as to file an official request for information to ask Jacinda Ardern for a list of those present during the former BlackRock CEO’s visit as well as a transcript of that visit. request was The Prime Minister’s Office rejected it at the time Since no report has been written.

Governments are listening

This New Zealand collaboration will undoubtedly revive theories about BlackRock whispering in the ears of governments and relentlessly imposing their agenda on the world. However, the company’s role is more like that of a companion – certainly interested financially – or even that of an executor of missions for governments and other leading institutions. In recent years, this sentiment has been particularly reinforced by the activities of its Financial Markets Advisory Company. the Wall Street Journal was also devoted Essay at the end of 2022 for this team who advises or advises the Federal Reserve, the Bank of Canada, the Vatican, and the Greek government, among others.

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In Europe, in recent years, the name BlackRock FMA has often returned to the news. The subsidiary of the US giant produced a report for the European Commission on the incorporation of ESG factors into banks’ prudential frameworks in 2021. The organization’s mediation on the manner in which bids for this study were awarded in 2020 was taken to BlackRock FMA. In 2020, Riskbank, the central bank of Sweden, entrusted the task to the subsidiary.

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Recently, in the spring of 2023, BlackRock FMA was authorized by the US authorities to sell the assets of bankrupt banks Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank and also by the Ukrainian government to advise the Development Fund for the Reconstruction of Ukraine on a pro bono basis.

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