Global Stewardship and Accountability the Basis of CalSTRS 4th Annual Sustainability Report
Fourth annual report showcases pension fund’s ESG efforts across varied business areas.
WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (January 30, 2018)– The California State Teachers’ Retirement System today released Global Stewardship at Work, its 2016-17 sustainability report. This is the fourth year the system published the report, which is based on the Global Reporting Initiative G4 Guidelines.
In 2015, CalSTRS became the first U.S. public pension plan to issue a sustainability report that met the GRI guidelines. And this year, CalSTRS continues to report sustainability-focused disclosures that align to the GRI performance metrics. The report features detailed reporting of topics including CalSTRS mission and strategic plan; funding levels and risk reporting metrics; member, stakeholder, contractor and employee engagement; and an overview of CalSTRS sustainable culture, workforce development and diversity efforts.
“Sustainability reporting is essential to help organizations like CalSTRS measure, understand and communicate their economic, environmental, social and governance performance more effectively.”
CalSTRS Chief Executive Officer
“Sustainability reporting is essential to help organizations like CalSTRS measure, understand and communicate their economic, environmental, social and governance performance more effectively,” said CalSTRS Chief Executive Officer Jack Ehnes. “Analyzing and strategizing on the impacts of the confluence of responsible governance factors is critical to fulfilling our mission of securing the financial future of California’s educators. This year’s highly interactive report details the System’s commitment to long-term sustainability and stewardship, as well as the global perspective we’ve adopted to mitigate risk exposure and capitalize on growth opportunities.”
The following notable achievements are outlined in the report:
- Economic: CalSTRS pays $13 billion in benefits annually to our nearly 300,000 retirees. This is a significant economic driver, helping sustain local economies while creating a secure financial future for our members. Meanwhile, CalSTRS remains committed to full funding of the plan over the next three decades, even as our members enjoy increased longevity.
- Retirement Security: Engaging CalSTRS members to take an active role in their retirement security was boosted by the award winning redesign of the 403bCompare website (https://www.403bCompare.com), allowing site visitors to create side-by-side comparisons of supplemental investment options to optimize future earnings and reduce corrosive fees. These tools encourage members to save early in their careers and illustrate how their savings can benefit from the power of time and compounding.
- Workforce Development: CalSTRS’ commitment to creating a diverse and engaged workforce is highlighted in programs to encourage growth and develop talented leaders.
- Organizational Transparency: CalSTRS encourages employee feedback via internal intranet, regular employee meetings and town halls; and maintains ethics, pension abuse and whistleblower hotlines. CalSTRS communicates with its members via multiple channels, including a robust CalSTRS.com and secure website at myCalSTRS.com; blogs, member surveys, popular Social Media channels and in-person financial literacy workshops, as well as one-on-one appointments for members with trained staff.
- Cyber Security and Ethics Compliance: CalSTRS employees take mandatory annual training on cyber threat awareness, sign confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements and adhere to strict internal controls of member information. The CalSTRS audits and compliance units serve as a foundation of good corporate governance and an instrument of elevating business performance.
- CalSTRS Sustainable Employee Culture: CalSTRS employees contributed to the organization’s renowned LEED certified headquarters at the platinum level for operations and maintenance, which in the past year included a reduction in paper use; improved energy savings via refinements to the data center, upgrades to the existing mechanical air systems and reduced use of after-hours cooling and heating. CalSTRS contributed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions via participation in the Roosevelt Wind Project, a renewable wind farm in New Mexico, and a continued focus on alternative transportation modes, especially bicycle use.
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, with a portfolio valued at $225.3 billion as of December 31, 2017, is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world. CalSTRS serves California’s more than 933,000 public school educators and their families from the state’s 1,700 school districts, county offices of education and community college districts. After more than 25 years of service and with a median retirement age of 62.9, CalSTRS members’ average monthly pension is $4,475—with no Social Security eligibility. 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.