iShares Advances ESG Lineup with Over $800 Million Investment from Ilmarinen

The iShares ETF is one of the largest equity ETF launches in history

NEW YORK--()--iShares ESG MSCI USA Leaders ETF (SUSL) launched yesterday with more than $800 million in investment from Ilmarinen, Finland’s largest pension insurance company. Ilmarinen is making this investment by moving assets from its S&P 500 equity exposure into SUSL, a strategy that offers exposure to the top environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performers within a broad U.S. equity solution.

Established in 1961, Ilmarinen has more than EUR 47 billion in investment assets (as of March 31, 2019) and has made sustainability an integral aspect of its overall company philosophy and investment strategy for more than five decades.

“We’re focused on integrating ESG characteristics throughout our investment strategy, so funds like this help us mirror our values as a company while adding investment value in the process,” said Anna Hyrske, head of responsible investing at Ilmarinen.

SUSL offers exposure to top ESG performers within U.S. large- and mid-capitalization stocks of companies relative to their sector peers as determined by MSCI, the index provider. SUSL is designed to track the market cap-weighted MSCI USA Extended ESG Leaders Index, which builds from the MSCI USA ESG Leaders Index framework. Companies involved in tobacco, alcohol, gambling, nuclear power, nuclear and conventional weapons, controversial weapons, and civilian firearms as well as companies involved in severe controversies are excluded from the index.1

“Working with Ilmarinen has been a shining example of collaborating with a forward thinking client to enable them to meet their own sustainable investment goals while creating a solution for other similar minded investors around the world,” said Sarah Kjellberg, head of U.S. iShares sustainable ETFs at BlackRock.

ESG Metrics: Going Beyond Products

The process for analyzing ESG metrics and understanding the sustainability profile of companies has improved with growing availability and access to data.

In October 2018, BlackRock introduced ESG and carbon intensity metrics alongside existing portfolio characteristics on all of our iShares Sustainable ETFs. And in April, we expanded availability of these metrics to 261 iShares ETFs.

All of this is part of a firm-wide initiative to expand access to ESG data and sustainability-related insights for clients and across our investment processes globally.

“Technological innovations and growing access to data are making it easier to integrate ESG characteristics into investing strategies, which means more companies will be evaluated—and invested in—according to their ability to implement sustainable business practices,” said Brian Deese, global head of sustainable investing at BlackRock. “It’s our belief that sustainability-related issues should be increasingly integrated into all aspects of investing.”

iShares sustainable investing platform is focused on offering choices for investors, and has grown to more than $9 billion in iShares ESG ETF assets globally (as of March 31, 2019).

About iShares

iShares unlocks opportunity across markets to meet the evolving needs of investors. With more than twenty years of experience, a global line-up of 800+ exchange traded funds (ETFs) and $1.9 trillion in assets under management as of March 31, 2019, iShares continues to drive progress for the financial industry. iShares funds are powered by the expert portfolio and risk management of BlackRock, trusted to manage more money than any other investment firm.2

About BlackRock

BlackRock helps investors build better financial futures. As a fiduciary to investors and a leading provider of financial technology, our clients turn to us for the solutions they need when planning for their most important goals. As of March 31, 2019, the firm managed approximately $6.52 trillion in assets on behalf of investors worldwide. For additional information on BlackRock, please visit | Twitter: @blackrock | Blog: | LinkedIn:

1 The specific exclusion criteria, such as revenue thresholds, vary by industry.
2 Based on $6.52 trillion in AUM as of 3/31/19

Carefully consider the Funds' investment objectives, risk factors, and charges and expenses before investing. This and other information can be found in the Funds' prospectuses or, if available, the summary prospectuses which may be obtained by visiting or Read the prospectus carefully before investing.

Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal.

A fund's environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) investment strategy limits the types and number of investment opportunities available to the fund and, as a result, the fund may underperform other funds that do not have an ESG focus. A fund's ESG investment strategy may result in the fund investing in securities or industry sectors that underperform the market as a whole or underperform other funds screened for ESG standards.

This information should not be relied upon as research, investment advice, or a recommendation regarding any products, strategies, or any security in particular. This material is strictly for illustrative, educational, or informational purposes and is subject to change.

The iShares Funds are distributed by BlackRock Investments, LLC (together with its affiliates, “BlackRock”).

The iShares Funds are not sponsored, endorsed, issued, sold or promoted by MSCI Inc., nor does this company make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in the Funds. BlackRock is not affiliated with MSCI Inc.

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Matt Kobussen
(646) 231-0599


Matt Kobussen
(646) 231-0599