Kentucky Lists BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase for Divestment Over ‘Ideological’ Energy Boycott

( BlackRock and JPMorgan Chase were included on a list of 11 financial institutions released by the State of Kentucky on Tuesday, with a warning that they may be divested due to their ideological hostility to the fossil fuel industry.

According to a statement from Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball, the traditional energy sector accounts for 143,994 jobs or 7.8% of all employment in the state. She said that when companies boycott fossil fuels, they intentionally choke off the lifeblood of capital to Kentucky’s signature industries.

Ball said that traditional energy sources support the economy of Kentucky, create much-needed jobs, and keep our homes warm. The ideological whims of a small group must be allowed to cause irreparable harm to Kentucky’s key businesses.

A state law passed in Kentucky in April 2022 mandates that the treasurer publish a list of financial institutions yearly that participated in the “energy business boycott.” The listed corporations have 90 days to stop boycotting energy companies to avoid divestment, and state government organizations are required by law to report their holdings in those companies to the treasurer within 30 days after the list’s release.

BlackRock, the most significant investment manager in the world and a key proponent of “stakeholder capitalism” and “environmental, social, and governance” (ESG) investing strategies, topped the list for 2022. BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Climate First Bank, Danske Bank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Nordea Bank, Schroders, Svenska Handelsbanken, and Swedbank were the other ten financial companies on the list.

BlackRock stated that its “sole agenda is providing the best financial results for our clients” in reaction to Kentucky’s action.

Globally, they have invested over $276 billion on behalf of their clients in energy companies, according to a statement from the multinational company with its headquarters in New York. BlackRock continues to invest in the whole energy industry and does not boycott energy businesses.

The revelation was made on Tuesday after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron wrote a legal opinion in response to a request from Ball’s office that individuals in charge of Kentucky taxpayers’ pension funds shouldn’t adopt “stakeholder capitalism” or ESG practices.

Six states have declared their intention to withdraw their state pension funds from BlackRock by the end of 2022, citing their disapproval of the “stakeholder capitalism” and “environmental sustainability” agenda.

In particular, Nebraska and Kentucky are anticipated to join them.