October 3, 2019 / 9:35 AM / 2 months ago

Boom of planet-friendly funds will impact companies' cost of capital: BlackRock

Downtown Los Angeles is seen behind an electricity pylon through the morning marine layer in Los Angeles, California, U.S., August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Huge flows of money into investment funds labeled environmentally friendly will make it more costly for some companies to access capital, BlackRock’s top mining sector investor said on Thursday.

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns have become a buzzword in the financial sector and investment products labeled ESG have multiplied, sucking up billions of dollars and putting pressure on sectors considered “dirty” such as oil and mining.

“The weight of money flowing into products in this area, whether they are active or passive, will shift the cost of capital for companies,” said Evy Hambro, who manages the BlackRock World Mining investment trust (BRWM.L), addressing the Joburg Indaba mining conference from London.

“It’s only recently that we’ve been asked by clients in almost every encounter with them what we’re doing on ESG,” Hambro said.

The actively managed BlackRock World Mining trust invests in mining companies including BHP Group (BHP.AX), Rio Tinto (RIO.L)(RIO.AX), Vale (VALE3.SA) and Newmont (NEM.N), according to its June 30 holdings report.

BlackRock, the world’s biggest investment manager, has come under fire this year for its investments in coal mining companies.

Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Tom Hogue

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