CalSTRS Fourth Annual Sustainability Report Cements Long-Term Organizational Focus

Blog entry Jack Ehnes

In our fourth annual sustainability report covering our 2016-17 fiscal year activities, we once again focus on our role as trusted stewards of the Teachers’ Retirement Fund. At CalSTRS, we take our responsibility seriously by taking deliberate actions and making informed, accountable decisions to ensure a fully sustainable organization.

CalSTRS demonstrates our commitment to securing our members’ retirement futures and organizational sustainability by modeling best practices in corporate governance, employing risk-mitigation policies, developing workforce succession plans, dedicating resources to increase our members’ financial awareness and retirement security while utilizing energy and consumables with an eye towards a renewable future.

The relationship with our members begins when they first enter their teaching careers and extends through their retirement years. On average, CalSTRS members dedicate more than 25 years to educating California’s youth and retire at just under 63 years of age. And, according to data outlined in our most recent actuarial experience study, CalSTRS members are living longer in their retirement years.

Reflecting on the longevity of our members’ careers and their increased lifespans, CalSTRS dedicates resources to emphasize awareness, outreach and education to provide them with retirement planning tools throughout their careers.

We offer a financial awareness workshop series that emphasizes the importance of supplemental savings plans in addition to the defined benefit pension. Members are educated on the difference they can make by saving early in their careers when they can benefit most from the power of time and compounding. Additionally, CalSTRS provides members with robust tools to determine their financial goals throughout their career stages.

As a long-term, 30-year horizon investor, we take steps to balance risk with opportunity in order to preserve the integrity and strength of the fund. Managing a multi-billion dollar portfolio requires thoughtful diligence to monitor investment performance, analyze projections, and take necessary actions to ensure a stable, risk-adjusted return profile. And though CalSTRS is largely a passive investor in our portfolio of publically held stocks, we take an active shareowner role by regularly engaging with our portfolio companies to ensure responsible corporate governance practices.

As trusted fiduciaries, CalSTRS staff and third-party experts continually monitor the financial health of the fund by providing an actuarial valuation and funding levels risk report to the Teachers’ Retirement Board every year. The results of both reports confirm that CalSTRS continues to make progress toward the long-term funding goal outlined in the passage of Assembly Bill 1469 in July 2014.

This report further illustrates that CalSTRS’ sustainability-focused mission that employees demonstrate this every day by using alternative transportation, conserving energy, recycling and diverting waste from landfills and purchasing environmentally preferred goods, all the while supporting sustainable lifestyles in our LEED Platinum-certified headquarters building.

This sustainability report illustrates the power of global stewardship at work and how we continue to manage resources and our fund with great diligence and care, in fulfilling commitment to being a fully sustainable organization. We invite you to peruse the report to more fully understand how CalSTRS commitment to sustainability permeates every corner of the organization.


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