A global consulting firm, FTI Consulting, coordinated, staffed, and operated oil and gas front groups that purported to show grassroots support for fossil fuels, an investigation by the New York Times revealed. These operations included efforts to undermine the national #ExxonKnew campaign, creating fake social media accounts to spy on and disrupt protesters, and even flying banners behind airplanes thanking oil rig workers.
FTI also produced work for Main Street Investors, a group that described itself as representing mom-and-pop investors but which was founded by industry organizations including the National Association of Manufacturers. Through a wholly-owned subsidiary, FTI produced a report critical of policies that enable shareholders to influence companies’ policies on matters like climate and the environment. That report and related work, puts FTI in direct conflict with one of its largest shareholders, the investment firm BlackRock. BlackRock won praise earlier this year when it said it would put environmental sustainability at the center of its investment approach. On Tuesday, Blackrock’s founder and CEO Larry Fink called on the U.S. to require corporate reporting of all risk related to climate change. (FTI: New York Times $; Fink on corporate reporting: Reuters)