Features, Finance, Municipal Government, New York

NYC Pension Funds Divest from Fossil Fuels

April 21, 2018

By Stephanie West

NEW YORK, NY — Mayor Bill de Blasio, Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and trustees of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS), the Teachers Retirement System (TRS), and the Board of Education Retirement System (BERS) have announced a first-in-the-nation goal of divestment from fossil fuel reserve owners.
Launching one of the most significant and comprehensive divestment effort in the world to date, NYCERS, TRS, and BERS, which together represent 70 percent of the total assets of the City’s $193 billion pension funds, issued a Request for Information (RFI). The goal is to gather input and recommendations from a wide range of experts to determine a prudent strategy to divest from fossil fuel owners within five years.

The RFI seeks insights from a variety of fields to ensure divestment from fossil fuels is conducted in a responsible way that is fully consistent with fiduciary obligations.
 
“New York City is standing strong for our planet and pensioners with this next step towards divestment,” said Mayor de Blasio. “The future is about clean energy and cleaner air as we continue fighting climate change. I thank Comptroller Stringer and Trustees for their leadership as we take important steps towards divesting from fossil fuels.”

In January, NYCERS, TRS, and BERS passed a joint resolution submitted by Mayor de Blasio and Comptroller Stringer to begin analyzing ways to divest from fossil fuel owners. The issued RFI is the first major step toward achieving the groundbreaking goal of divestment within five years in a way that fulfills the fiduciary duties of the pension funds. In order to protect the long-term interests of the Systems’ beneficiaries and determine the most effective way to safeguard the Systems from the economic and investment risks of climate change, the RFI will collect advice, information and analysis from leading experts. Insights from experts in a variety of fields will be used to develop the Request for Proposal (RFP) for services to determine the path toward unwinding investments in fossil fuel owners from the pension fund portfolio. People who have backgrounds in investment, finance, legal, scientific and environmental policy, among others fields will be engaged, with responses due on June 1, 2018.

“We know that the future is with big ideas in clean energy, not with big polluters, and we believe that a green economy is a thriving economy. Today’s historic action reflects our commitment to growing our funds for pension fund beneficiaries and protecting our planet,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer.”

April 21, 2018

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