Funds Unveil Global Environmental Investment Policy

May 12, 2005 ( - A coalition of 26 public pension funds have vowed to invest $1 billion into clean technology companies in the next year.

Fund leaders also vowed to pressure corporate executives to be upfront about financial risks posed by global climate change, according to a Sacramento Bee news report.

Leaders from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) joined institutional counterparts from the US and Europe to promote a 10-point climate risk strategy. As part of the group’s plan, officials pledged to inject $1 billion over the next year in emerging clean technology ventures ranging from developers of miniature fuel cells to makers of home water treatment systems.

“Climate change poses long-term risk for the many companies in which we invest,” Connecticut Treasurer Denise Nappier said during a news conference at an Institutional Investor Summit on Climate Risk at the United Nations. Investors, she said, will be looking to “minimize risk and exploit opportunities.”

The coalition, which oversees more than $3 trillion in assets, wants the energy companies and automakers to disclose the possible financial risks related to climate change, such as tougher curbs on greenhouse gas emissions, the Bee report said.

The group will lobby the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require companies to report the environmental risk information to investors. In addition, fund leaders will urge their outside money managers and mutual fund companies to consider climate issues when evaluating investments.

“Standards are needed so we can know what all the companies are doing to ensure a cleaner environment,” said California controller, Steve Westly, a CalPERS and CalSTRS trustee.