A proposal seeking the divestiture of tobacco investments was rejected by fund participants 73.7% to 21.1%. It was the fifth year in a row that the tobacco resolution – or ones similar to it – were defeated.
CREF has more than $668 million invested in 17 tobacco corporations, 71% in more than 20 million shares of Philip Morris.
CREF noted that other CREF funds track industry benchmarks, which still include tobacco stocks. It also noted that it now offers a Social Choice Account, which applies a number of social screens to its investment portfolio, including one for tobacco.
The results of the proxy voting were announced at the CREF annual meeting, held at its headquarters in New York City.
CREF is the investment arm of TIAA-CREF, the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund. TIAA-CREF serves over two million participants and 10,000 institutions.