Blog entry Jack Ehnes

How CalSTRS Honors Earth Day

Our urban garden, Waterfront Gardens, is maintained by the employees of our on-site café. Organic, seasonal produce is used in a variety of dishes available to employees and visitors.

Started as a grassroots effort in 1970, Earth Day grew out of concern for the environment and continues to enjoy mainstream support today. People and organizations throughout the world hold activities to mark this annual celebration every April 22, and CalSTRS too, honors this occasion. The idea behind Earth Day serves to inspire responsibility towards protecting our environment.

In many ways, CalSTRS has taken an active role in this effort. We provide capital for sustainable development to make a measurable difference in reducing the footprint of greenhouse gas emissions. Although we may not always be aligned with our stakeholder groups in our approach to addressing key environmental, social or governance issues, we do believe that action on climate change should be addressed now. This is the reason behind our sustainable initiatives.  

In 2014, we announced plans to increase our clean energy and technology investments of $1.4 billion to $3.7 billion by 2019. Then in May 2015, we became the first U.S. public pension plan to embark on sustainability reporting in accordance with Global Reporting Initiative guidelines in our inaugural Sustainability Report: The Next 100 Years.

Building on that momentum, we joined global leaders from around the world at the 2015 Paris climate conference to demonstrate our commitment to limiting the climate’s future temperature rise to less than two degrees Celsius. We strongly believe that in order to uphold the Paris Agreement we will need to follow the core principles of measurement, transparency and accountability. 

CalSTRS remains dedicated to our vision and guiding beliefs; conducting an ongoing review of our Investment Policy for Mitigating Environmental, Social and Governance Risks and Responsible Contractor Policy; refining our Green Initiative Task Force; and, continuing active participation in myriad investor-related, climate-focused organizations like Ceres, CDP, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, and the Investor Network on Climate Risk.

As an organization, we also pay careful consideration to the footprint our building, our employees and our business partners have on the environment. Sustainable objectives are incorporated throughout our organization. The CalSTRS West Sacramento headquarters maintains a LEED Platinum certification. We practice a variety of waste recycling and energy conservation efforts within our workspace.

This past fall, we became one of the first California state agencies to promote a farm-to-fork lifestyle when we broke ground on CalSTRS Waterfront Gardens. Our urban garden is maintained by the employees of our on-site café. Organic, seasonal produce is used in a variety of dishes available to CalSTRS employees and visitors. We encourage alternative transportation and support other great opportunities that enhance our sustainable culture. 

We all share a responsibility in environmental stewardship to ensure future generations have access to the same quality of life we enjoy now. To fulfill our mission to California’s educators, CalSTRS must grow strategically and resourcefully for the long term. A goal we can achieve sustainably.

From our building to our investment strategy, our sustainable practices seek to create long-term value, promote stewardship of our natural resources and sustain the financial integrity of the fund for the benefit of our members, our community and our planet. Wishing you a pleasant Earth Day 2016.

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