BlackRock Inc. plans to speak with companies manufacturing and distributing firearms and weapons following a school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead.
The asset management giant is working with clients who want to exclude weapons manufacturers or other companies that do not align with their beliefs from their portfolios. BlackRock currently has more than $200 billion in assets under management for clients in these types of portfolios, spokesperson Ed Sweeney said in a statement.
While it is unable to sell shares of a particular company included in an index, BlackRock is working to engage companies to help them understand "how they are responding to society's expectations of them," Sweeney said.
BlackRock's management team, led by Chairman and CEO Laurence Fink, has continued to push for companies to review their social responsibility throughout 2018. In his annual letter, Fink called on companies to "understand the societal impact of your business as well as the ways that broad, structural trends — from slow wage growth to rising automation to climate change — affect your potential for growth."
Just weeks prior, BlackRock also sent a letter to certain member companies of the Russell 1000 asking them to explain why their boards have fewer than two female directors.