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Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2004 14:58:12 -0500
From: CERES <email@example.com>
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Nicole St. Clair (617) 247-0700 x. 20
February 3, 2003
In Follow-Up to Investor Summit on Climate Risk, California Treasurer
Launches Environmental Disclosure and Investment Initiative
Citing CERES Summit on Climate Risk, Phil Angelides calls on CalPERS,
-STRS to launch environmental screen of corporations, demand disclosure of
climate- and other environmental risks, and invest in clean energy technologies
SACRAMENTO, CA, BOSTON, MA -California State Treasurer Phil Angelides
today launched a landmark initiative to use CA pension funds' clout and
considerable assets to demand more disclosure of climate- and other
environmental risks from portfolio companies and invest in clean energy
technologies to encourage job creation and economic growth in California.
He cited the CERES-led Investor Summit on Climate Risk, held at the United
Nations in November, 2003, as part of the impetus for the announcement.
"CERES has been a leader in drawing investors' and companies' attention to
the financial risks of environmental degradation, and to the economic
opportunites in solving those problems ," said Treasurer Angelides. "The
Investor Summit on Climate Risk brought major investor clout together to
examine the risks of climate change to our portfolios - risks that many
corporations we invest in have chosen to ignore-- and to discuss solutions"
He added: "That day in November, I joined my colleagues in a Call to
Action to expose and mitigate climate risk. Today I am offering
California's action plan to reduce climate risk and other environmental
risk while creating economic opportunity, and I invite other major
investors to work with us."
At the Investor Summit, which was attended by the heads of the California
Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State
Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), Treasurer Angelides joined eight
other major investors in issuing a Call to Action to mitigate the risks to
pension funds associated with climate change. Today's announcement
represents the first of investor plans to pursue items in the Call to Action.
CERES Executive Director Mindy Lubber, applauded Treasurer Angelides'
leadership. " This is a visionary set of concrete actions that investors
can take to protect their portiolios from the financial risks of
environmental issues such as climate change. Analyzing and disclosing that
risk is the first step to building a long term portfolio that will yield
financial and sustainable dividends."
"This is exactly the kind of plan that we were hoping to see emerge from
the Summit. Treasurer Angelides has the vision to see the enormous
financial risks for companies who have an impact on climate change and the
profitable solutions that come from businesses focused on solving the
problems. This plan confirms that responsible and profitable investing is
a long term proposition and that it is no longer responsible to live by
Wall Street's short-term expectations."
The Treasurer's initiative calls on CalPERS and CalSTRS - the nation's
largest and third largest public pension funds, with combined assets of
$250 billion - to implement the following four-pronged plan:
* Demand Environmental Accountability and Disclosure. Using their
financial clout in the marketplace, and building on their track record of
corporate governance leadership, CalPERS and CalSTRS would prod
corporations to provide meaningful, consistent and robust reporting of
their environmental practices, risks and potential liabilities - citing
"critical financial factors" such as climate risk assessment and global
warming. The California funds will join with other major U.S. investment
funds in pressing the Securities and Exchange Commission to strengthen
environmental disclosure rules, among other actions.
* Target Private Investment in Environmental Technologies. The
Treasurer will urge CalPERS and CalSTRS to invest a combined $500 million
in private equity investments, venture capital, and project financing to
develop "clean" technologies to provide the pension funds with positive,
long-term returns, and create jobs and economic growth in California in
the years ahead.
* Invest in Stocks of Environmentally Responsible Companies. Urge
CalPERS and CalSTRS to invest a combined $1 billion of their stock
portfolios into environmentally screened funds through leading active
public equity investment managers with proven track records.
* Audit real estate portfolios to boost long-term value. Call on
CalPERS and CalSTRS to undertake a comprehensive audit of their
respective real estate investments to determine whether the investments
are maximizing their opportunities to use clean energy, energy efficiency
and green building standards and practices that reduce long-term costs
and boost long-term value. CalPERS and CalSTRS have nearly $16 billion
invested in real estate and property in California, the nation and 22
countries throughout the world. CalPERS and CalSTRS own nearly 160
million square feet of office and industrial space alone.
Both pension funds plan to meet on the initiative in the early Spring.
In crafting the new initiative, Angelides said he was also building on the
lessons learned from the recent wave of corporate scandals. "There is a
parallel between the corporate CEO who cooks the books to pump up the
value of his company's stock while he is simultaneously looting the firm
for his own gain," the Treasurer said, "and a corporation that increases
its returns for a few quarters by exploiting the environment. The
corporation that exploits the environment leaves behind both a damaged
environment and, ultimately, a degraded company."
He cited environmental problems as an opportunity for new technology and
"The environmental technology sector is expanding rapidly in response to
the growing worldwide need for clean water, efficient energy sources, and
other sustainable environmental solutions," the Treasurer said. "We need
to move forward now, so California and our pension funds can capture this
economic growth and create jobs, while at the same time clearing the air,
land and water of pollutants through advanced solutions to our
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