New York pension fund’s ‘historic’ divestment in fossil fuels presented as a model for others

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In what climate activists celebrated on Wednesday as not just a “historicalWinning but also a role model for the rest of the country, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and the trustees of major public pension funds have announced a $ 3 billion divestment from fossil fuels.

“Today is a great victory for our planet, our children and our retirees.”

“We would like to thank Controller Stringer, for his years of public service and his leadership in protecting our pensions and our planet by disengaging from investments in fossil fuels. Thank you for joining the fight to reduce the flow of fuel. ‘money to the world’s most dangerous polluters, “said Dorian Fulvio, board member of 350NYC.

Stand.earth’s Climate Finance Program Director Richard Brooks said “New York City is once again a beacon of progressive climate action.”

“This anticipated and unprecedentedly transparent achievement of one of the largest divestments of fossil fuels translates words and commitment into concrete action,” he said. “Every pension fund and investor should be careful: if divestment can be done in New York City, it can and should happen anywhere.”

Stand.earth earlier this month released what it called a “first of its kind” analysis exposing how US public pension funds “are financing the climate crisis.” The advocacy group and nationwide fund recipients have responded to the findings by demanding divestment of fossil fuel holdings as well as investments in “just and equitable climate solutions.”

New York City leaders pledged in January 2018 to divest major public pension funds from fossil fuel reserve companies within five years and urged others to follow suit.

On Wednesday, Stringer and the directors of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS) and the New York City Board of Education Retirement System (BERS) revealed that the funds “have completed their process of disposing of approximately $ 1.8 billion. dollars and $ 100 million in securities, respectively, ”bringing the total of all funds to about $ 3 billion.

The announcement presented the complete list of the combined securities sold from the NYCERS and BERS portfolios. The companies include oil giants BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell.

“The divestment of the New York City Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) is underway with more than $ 1 billion ceded to date, and is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2022 with approximately $ 1 billion remaining,” the statement added, noting that “TRS used another investment consultant and used different criteria” than the other two funds and its list will be published following its divestiture.

“Today is a major victory for our planet, our children and our retirees,” Stringer said Wednesday. “The successful divestment of $ 3 billion from fossil fuels is proof that environmental and fiscal responsibility go hand in hand. New York City is leading the way towards a clean, green and sustainable economy, and the impacts of our actions heralding today will be felt for generations to come. “

The city controller also thanked those who allowed the divestiture, saying that “today is made possible by so many people – the trustees whose leadership and unwavering commitment to the retirement security of our retirees have maintained this process on track, from investment experts who ensured that every step of this process was thoughtful and reliable, to advocates who sounded the alarm bells about the growing financial and environmental risks posed by climate change. “



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