Eighth annual report highlights focus on members during COVID-19 pandemic
News release | Rebecca Forée
WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (February 25, 2022) – The California State Teachers’ Retirement System today released its 2020–21 Sustainability Report. The report follows the Global Reporting Initiative Standards, which are recognized as a global best practice for impact reporting.
CalSTRS reported on key corporate sustainability topics, including member retirement education, progress of the CalSTRS Funding Plan, the transition to net zero, and diversity, equity and inclusion. The Sustainability Report describes how CalSTRS’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic built additional organizational resiliency.
“The COVID-19 pandemic tested the resilience of our organization, our members, California’s students and society,” said CEO Cassandra Lichnock. “CalSTRS not only met the challenge but used it as an opportunity to innovate and strengthen our organization while also ensuring that our focus on sustainability was never compromised. In fact, in September 2021 our board made a pledge to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across the CalSTRS Investment Portfolio by 2050 or sooner, which will ultimately benefit not only our members and their beneficiaries, but the entire planet.”
Member retirement education
- CalSTRS paid $16.6 billion in benefit payments over the fiscal year.
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CalSTRS converted all in-person workshops and group benefits planning sessions to webinars during the 2020–21 fiscal year.
CalSTRS Funding Plan progress
- The 27.19% investment return earned by CalSTRS in 2020–21 has improved projected funding levels.
- Full funding is now expected to occur in 2041—five years ahead of schedule under current actuarial assumptions.
The transition to net zero
- In September 2021, the Teachers’ Retirement Board adopted a pledge to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across the CalSTRS Investment Portfolio by 2050 or sooner.
- CalSTRS continues to expand engagement efforts with companies on stewardship priorities to drive positive change within the portfolio.
Diversity, equity and inclusion
- The most diverse companies are more likely to outperform less diverse peers on profitability. To promote greater diversity on corporate boards, CalSTRS continues to engage portfolio companies on this topic.
- CalSTRS hosted internal dialogues and educational speakers on race, privilege, allyship, unconscious bias and disabilities.
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CalSTRS provides a secure retirement to more than 980,000 members and beneficiaries whose CalSTRS-covered service is not eligible for Social Security participation. On average, members who retired in 2020–21 had 25 years of service and a monthly benefit of $4,813. Established in 1913, CalSTRS is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world with $319.8 billion in assets under management as of January 31, 2022. CalSTRS demonstrates its strong commitment to long-term corporate sustainability principles in its annual Sustainability Report. For more information, visit CalSTRS.com.