January 24, 2017

In the latest demonstration of institutional asset owners’ commitment to climate action, New York State Common Retirement Fund, the third largest public pension fund in the US with $184.5 billion in assets, has joined the Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition.

The Common Retirement Fund is the first major US pension fund to join the Coalition’s 28 members, who between them control over $3 trillion in assets and have pledged to gradually decarbonize a total of $600 billion by designing investment portfolios with a smaller climate change impact.

“Climate change is one of the greatest risks to our pension fund’s portfolio,” said Thomas DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller, and trustee of the Fund. “We’re reviewing and adjusting our investments to reduce that risk and take advantage of the growing opportunities of a lower carbon future. Investors are playing a key role in fostering a cleaner global economy. The coalition gives us the opportunity not only to highlight our own activities in this regard, but also to share insights and challenges with counterparts around the world.”

“Investments with more carbon translate to higher risk, not just from potential carbon fees or pricing, but also from shifts in technology that can leave high‑carbon assets stranded,” said Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment. UN Environment’s Finance Initiative is a co-founder of the Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition. “The success of the Coalition is a clear signal to both governments and companies that climate change, and the corporate response to it, is critical to shareholder value and investor interests going forward,” said Solheim.

Read the press release here. The Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition is a joint initative between UN Environment and its Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), the fourth national pension fund of Sweden (AP4), Europe’s largest asset manager Amundi and CDP, the most important mechanism for climate disclosure worldwide. Visit the Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition website to find out more.