Asset Managers

How do Asset Managers contribute to climate chaos?

Asset managers pool massive amounts of money from investors, wealthy individuals and institutional accounts like pension funds and university endowments. They invest this money in the stocks and bonds of corporations, including those in the fossil fuel industry, to get steady returns for their clients. Asset managers make their fortunes by charging their clients fees to manage their money.

They exert influence by amassing shareholding stakes in corporations across nearly every industry, as well as deploying their armies of lobbyists and revolving door connections to promote their interests and suppress climate legislation. Moreover, their multi-millionaire and billionaire CEOs occupy board positions at centers of social power, such as prominent academic and cultural institutions, often using these positions to advance their agendas and burnish their image.

The biggest asset managers are the top shareholders of most major publicly-traded corporations. In 2020, the “Big Three” asset managers – BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street – were, when combined, the largest shareholder in an astounding 88 percent of firms across the S&P 500. Not surprisingly, they are also the top shareholders of the world’s top polluters, including oil majors Chevron, ExxonMobil, and ConocoPhillips.

BlackRock, Vanguard, and a photo of smoke stacks

Want a deeper dive?

Read “The Asset Manager Power Structure and the Climate Crisis” and learn how a handful of powerful asset managers control a huge chunk of the fossil fuel industry through massive shareholding.

How can we fight against asset managers?

Vanguard S.O.S.

Vanguard S.O.S. is a global campaigning network of civil society organizations, social movements, and financial experts working to push Vanguard to shift its funds out of fossil fuels and move toward truly sustainable and responsible investing.

Vanguard is one of the largest asset managers in the world, and currently the world’s top investor in fossil fuels. It is one of the largest shareholders in nearly every public company in the U.S., giving it immense economic power. Instead of using this power to tip the world further towards climate catastrophe, we’re pressuring the company to use its influence for good and accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels. 

Credit: Rachael Warriner


TIAA-Divest! campaigns to pressure the $1.2 trillion retirement and financial services firm TIAA to divest from fossil fuels, and stop land grabs and deforestation. TIAA-Divest! educates and mobilizes TIAA’s primary participants, higher ed and health industry professionals, to take action to stop TIAA’s investment in climate destruction. 

Working with finance professionals and researchers like IEEFA and the Sunrise Project, TIAA-Divest! has uncovered the extent of TIAA’s fossil fuel assets as well as its ongoing greenwashing campaign. TIAA’s holdings include more than $78 billion in fossil fuel investments. TIAA has financed coal-fired power plants in the US and overseas and is one of the largest investors in Adani Ports, the notorious coal mining company. TIAA-Divest’s own research also revealed that TIAA has ties to land grabbing and destructive industrial agricultural practices in the Brazilian Cerrado and other critical habitats around the world, routinely violating human rights.


How can we research the asset managers financing fossil fuels?

Toxic Bonds Campaign

Deny Debt to Fossil Fuels – Why investors and banks must stop financing bonds issued by companies expanding coal, oil and gas projects.

Investing in Climate Chaos Lookup

Look up the investors in coal, oil and gas companies listed on the Global Coal Exit List (GCEL) or the Global Oil & Gas Exit List (GOGEL). Data was collected in January 2023 and aggregated on group level.

Fossil Free Funds Lookup

Don’t want your retirement savings invested in fossil fuels? See mutual funds and ETFs that avoid fossil fuel investments.

Invest Your Values Lookup

Your retirement savings may be fueling the climate crisis. But they don’t have to. Browse through ratings for thousands of investments on environmental and social sustainability issues.

ReclaimFinance's Score Card

The Asset Managers Fueling Climate Chaos – a 2022 scorecard on asset managers, fossil fuels and climate change

Oil and Gas Policy Tracker

Analyzing the quality of oil & gas policies – the good, the bad and the in-between of the oil and gas policies adopted by financial institutions.

Coal Policy Tool

Analyzing the quality of coal policies – the good, the bad and the in-between of the coal policies adopted by financial institutions.

Climate Finance Regulation Hub

A resource hub for anyone interested in learning more about climate finance regulation, put together by members of the Stop the Money Pipeline coalition.

Fossil Fuel Finance Hub is a microsite of LittleSis, Rainforest Action Network, Private Equity Climate Risks and Vanguard SOS.