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BlackRock's new climate promise not enough to stop the protests

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Larry Fink said last month he would thrust climate change concerns to the centre of BlackRock Inc's investment strategy. That didn't stop activists from storming its Paris office on Monday. Protesters barricaded the premises, sprayed red paint on the floors and covered walls with graffiti before leaving.

New York

LARRY Fink said last month he would thrust climate change concerns to the centre of BlackRock Inc's investment strategy. That didn't stop activists from storming its Paris office on Monday. Protesters barricaded the premises, sprayed red paint on the floors and covered walls with graffiti before leaving.

The firm has seen also protests in other cities over the past few years, including its New York headquarters and London. Demonstrators have trailed chief executive officer Fink to events and speaking engagements.

The world's largest asset manager and its competitors are under increasing pressure to tackle environmental and social concerns.

Mr Fink's pledge to change BlackRock's approach came after months of controversy that focused on its fossil-fuel and private-prison holdings, and highlighted the challenge facing investment firms that want the best returns while also being perceived as good actors.

In the wake of his January announcement, Mr Fink gave two executives new sustainability roles, and the firm began cutting its stake in the biggest US coal miner.

This month, it rapped Siemens AG on the knuckles for its handling of a controversial rail contract for an Australian coal mine, which has come under criticism from environmental activists.

While those changes are the first steps under Mr Fink's new strategy, Monday's action shows how far it will need to go if it wants to satisfy its harshest critics.

During the occupation of the Paris office "BlackRock assassins" and "I want to live" could be read on walls and windows. There were also anarchist logos. BLOOMBERG