Mayor Bill de Blasio and Comptroller Scott M. Stringer on Thursday, Dec. 20, announced the next big step in the New York City pension funds’ action to address the risk posed by climate change by divesting from fossil fuel reserve owners – an unprecedented process and the first-of-its-kind in the United States.
A request for proposal (RFP) released today seeks advisers to analyze, evaluate, and recommend prudent fossil fuel divestment strategies for the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS), the Teachers Retirement System (TRS), and the Board of Education Retirement System (BERS). Together, the three pension systems representing 70 percent of the total assets of the city’s $200 billion pension funds.
The RFP will result in a comprehensive analysis of the city pension funds’ holdings and the risks the fossil fuel industry poses to pension assets. This analysis–the first for a pension fund of this size–will be used to develop a comprehensive and prudent divestment strategy to preserve the retirement funds of city employees and address climate change risks while meeting the pension fund trustees’ fiduciary responsibility.
“Divestment is a critical part of our strategy to fight climate change while insulating our pension funds,” de Blasio said.
“Fossil fuel companies have misled the public for too long, and we must take action now to protect our portfolios as well as our planet for future generations. I thank the comptroller and the rest of my fellow trustees for standing strong as we continue taking these steps to divest from fossil fuels.”
“The future of New York City can’t be tied to fossil fuels – and today, we’re taking the next big step to protect our planet and the retirement security of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers,” Stringer said.
“Climate change poses an existential threat,” Stringer said. “But by moving towards a fossil fuel free investment strategy, New York City is planting the seed for a clean, green, and thriving economy that can truly support future generations. The steps we take in New York City set a precedent around the country and the world, and the leadership from the mayor and the trustees are charting a roadmap for responsible climate action.”
The DC 37 Blog is an official online publication of DC 37, AFSCME, which represents 121,000 municipal employers in New York City and surrounding areas.