CalSTRS Signs Vatican Climate Action Statement
Chair of Investment Committee participates in the Pope’s dialogue on energy transition
WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (June 17, 2019) – The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, alongside leading global investors and oil and gas industry executives, today announced a collective commitment to accelerate action to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
After two days of dialogue hosted by the Vatican and the University of Notre Dame, the attendees issued two joint statements calling for meaningful carbon pricing and enhanced climate-related disclosure. The gathering was called “The Energy Transition and Care for Our Common Home.”
“The CalSTRS board recognizes that climate change poses existential and financial risks, and we are committed to addressing them.”
CalSTRS Board Vice-Chair
Pope Francis met with executives to underscore the urgent need for “a radical energy transition” that will address the challenges of climate change and protect the world’s most vulnerable populations and future generations.
“As the largest educator-only pension fund and a global investor, we have a role to play in promoting the global economy’s transition to a low carbon future,” said CalSTRS Board Vice-Chair Harry Keiley, who also is chair of the Investment Committee. “The CalSTRS board recognizes that climate change poses significant existential and financial risks, and we are committed to understanding and addressing them as an urgent priority.”
In May 2019, the CalSTRS Investment Committee approved new policy language that stated:
“We believe that how the world responds to the risks associated with climate change, as detailed by peer reviewed scientific reports, including those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), will materially impact the value of our investment portfolio. CalSTRS recognizes that public policies, technological advances and physical impacts associated with concerns about climate change are already driving the transition to a lower carbon economy. As a diversified global investor, we need to understand the transition’s potential impacts and consider actions we can take to mitigate risk and identify related investment opportunities.”
At the same meeting, the Investment Committee also approved policy language in support of a stable and clear carbon pricing framework that aligns with the Paris Climate Accord goals of reducing global emissions.
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, with a portfolio valued at $226 billion as of May 31, 2019, is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world. CalSTRS serves California’s more than 949,000 public school educators and their families from the state’s 1,700 school districts, county offices of education and community college districts. A hybrid retirement system, CalSTRS administers a combined traditional defined benefit, cash balance and voluntary defined contribution plan. CalSTRS also provides disability and survivor benefits. CalSTRS members retire on average after more than 25 years of service, with a median retirement age of 62.9, and a monthly pension of approximately $4,475, which is not eligible for Social Security participation. For more data, download the CalSTRS Fast Facts 2018 brochure.
See how CalSTRS demonstrates its strong commitment to long-term corporate sustainability principles in its annual Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Report.
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