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BlackRock, Citi CEOs Blowing Off Key Climate Talk In Egypt

larry fink blackrock

The biggest climate event of the calendar looks set to draw far fewer chief executives than it did just a year ago.

BlackRock Inc. CEO Larry Fink won’t be at the COP27 summit in Egypt next month and will instead attend a meeting of the firm’s board of directors, according to people familiar with his plans. [bold, links added]

Citigroup Inc. CEO Jane Fraser will also stay away, as will Bill Winters of Standard Chartered Plc, spokespeople for the banks said. All three made a point of attending in 2021.

They lead a long list of top-level executives giving this year’s summit a lower priority, according to responses gathered by Bloomberg News based on current plans.

BlackRock and others will instead be sending delegations consisting of lower-tier representatives, according to spokespeople for the firms. Standard Chartered will send its chief sustainability officer, Marisa Drew.

Citi will send a team that includes Jay Collins, vice chairman of the firm’s banking, capital markets, and advisory division as well as Julie Monaco, head of the global public sector group inside its investment banking division.

BlackRock, which has yet to settle on who will be going, said it “looks forward to having a meaningful, senior presence at COP27 to engage with key stakeholders on one of the biggest themes for our clients,” in an emailed statement.

Fink was the star appearance last year as the heavyweights of big finance made their way to COP26 in Scotland to declare their commitment to slashing emissions.

Former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney had predicted that sustainable finance would make the leap “to the C-suite” and, as if to prove him right, Fink made a big impression at COP26, donning a polka-dot tie and brown hiking boots as he discussed the dangers of greenwashing.

A key milestone of last year’s COP was commitments secured by the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, to which BlackRock, Citi, and roughly 500 other financial firms are signatories.

With more than $135 trillion in assets, GFANZ was supposed to be the planet’s ticket to a more climate-friendly form of finance.

But a year later, it’s unclear how members will live up to their promises. (GFANZ is co-chaired by Carney and Michael R. Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.)

Instead, attention has shifted to navigating the fallout from war, energy shortages, inflation, and the threat of recession.

Efforts to fight greenhouse gas emissions, meanwhile, appear to be faltering.

h/t Rúnar O.

Read rest at Bloomberg

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