The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) released a special edition of its “Ranking Asset Managers” report, which creates a watch list of investment managers that invest millions of dollars in companies that make assault weapons.
“Educators, parents and students need safe and welcoming schools, and educators have a right to assume their deferred wages are not being invested in the companies that make the military-style assault weapons used to injure and kill them and their students in countless school shootings,” says AFT President Randi Weingarten. “When companies produce a dangerous product that creates a national public health and safety crisis, that company becomes a high-risk investment and people have the right to know. This report is about exposing that risk and providing pension trustees and investment managers with the tools they need to demand meaningful action.”
The report highlights actions several pension funds have taken to reduce their risk exposure. It also calls on all investors to “use their power to compel those gun manufacturers to take meaningful action to address these risks.” It creates a list of specific steps pension funds and financial institutions can take to mitigate their risks, including signing a gun safety code of conduct and limiting—or putting stricter stipulations on—their relationships with gun manufacturers.
The report identifies asset managers and several states’ public pension systems as institutions that have all taken steps toward this goal, and it names other financial institutions and public pension systems that have not yet acted in response to the gun violence epidemic.
In March, a bill was filed with the Massachusetts Legislature that would require the state’s public pension fund to divest from companies that manufacture guns and ammunition. In April, BlackRock issued a statement about its approach to firearm manufacturers.The AFT report is here. It is being sent to pension plan trustees.