CalSTRS Adds Public Health Criteria to IPS

September 5, 2008 ( - The California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) has added a new plank to its investment policy calling for a consideration of public health issues when deciding on future investment moves.

CalSTRS’ Investment Committee unanimously approved the addition of the public health criterion on the motion of State Treasurer Bill Lockyer.

A Lockyer news release said the component was added to CalSTRS’ Environment, Social and Governance Policy (ESG), which measurers risk and governs decisions related to CalSTRS investments.

“Big Tobacco is one example of an industry that has historically shown a complete disregard of public health, both here and abroad. They’ve marketed to children and increased our health care costs. There should be no consideration of reinvesting of tobacco,” Lockyer asserted in the news release. “As we continue to debate changes to our policy, we shouldn’t forget the teachers we represent. What kind of message would we send to them and their students if CalSTRS reinvested in tobacco while its members attempt to teach our children healthy habits?”

Lockyer blasted a proposal by CalSTRS in June to jump back into tobacco stocks (See CalSTRS Ponders Return to Tobacco Firm Holdings ).