Pension Funds Band Together For Climate Change

November 21, 2003 ( - Pension fund leaders from eight state and local governments and two labor groups have issued a 10-point "call for action" to increase corporate disclosure of the risks to pension fund investors posed by climate change.

The ten pension fund leaders, who have formed the “Investor Network on Climate Risk,” have announced plans to petition the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for enforcement of environmental risk disclosure requirements and seek climate risk disclosure at companies in the oil & gas, electric power, automobile and other sectors.   In addition the group is urging other institutional investors to join it in the fight by voting to support shareholder resolutions seeking disclosure of climate risks for investors, according to a news release.

“In global warming, we are facing an enormous risk to the US economy and to retirement funds that Wall Street has so far chosen to ignore,” said California State Treasurer Phil Angelides in a news release.   “As fiduciaries, we must take it upon ourselves to identify the emerging environmental challenges facing the companies in which we are shareholders, to demand more information, and to spur needed actions to respond to those challenges.”

Joining Angelides as a member of the network group and signer of the 10-point call for action are:

  • Connecticut Treasurer Denise Nappier
  • Maine Treasurer Dale McCormick
  • New Mexico Treasurer Robert Virgil
  • New York City Comptroller William Thompson
  • New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi
  • Oregon Treasurer Randall Edwards
  • Vermont Treasurer Jeb Spaulding
  • SEIU National Industry Pension Fund Director Steve Abrecht
  • CWA/ITA Negotiated Pension Plan Chairman William Boarman.

Overall, the group is pushing a 10-point action plan, which also calls for:

  • the SEC tore-interpret or change its proxy rules under Section 14(a)-8 relating to “ordinary business” to recognize that shareholders should have the right to vote on resolutions asking their companies to report on financial risks that may be faced due to climate change
  • boards of directors of companies to ask corporate management to provide them with information and data on the potential financial risk to companies from climate change
  • the US Congress and the White House to develop policies to address greenhouse gas emissions that assess the financial impact of climate change on the value of long-term investments
  • state governments to assess the potential financial impact of climate change on their states and businesses that operate in them.

“Today, we are taking aim at the SEC for not enforcing key rules on disclosure of environmental issues. We are focusing on corporate boards that come up short on corporate governance by failing to analyze and disclose environmental risks. And we urge Wall Street fund management firms to develop an analysis of climate change risk for portfolio companies and industries,” said New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi in a statement.

The full 10-point action plan can be accessed at .