NYS Common Retirement Fund’s Climate Action Plan

The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation 2019-06-16

Posted by Thomas P. DiNapoli, Office of New York State Comptroller, on Sunday, June 16, 2019
Editor's Note: Thomas P. DiNapoli is New York State Comptroller. This post is based on a memorandum from the New York State Comptroller Office. Related research from the Program on Corporate Governance includes Social Responsibility Resolutions by Scott Hirst (discussed on the Forum here).

Message from the Comptroller

As Comptroller of New York State and Trustee of the Common Retirement Fund (CRF), I am deeply concerned about the impact of climate change on the Fund’s investments, as well as its impact on the economy as whole. I understand the immense investment risks posed by climate change, but also recognize the significant investment opportunities in the transition to the emerging low carbon economy.

Ensuring strong investment returns for the CRF is fundamental to providing the benefits that our more than one million members, retirees and beneficiaries rely on for retirement security. Our government employers and New York’s taxpayers are also important stakeholders for the CRF. Identifying, assessing and addressing the investment risks and opportunities associated with climate change is integral to ensuring the long-term health of the CRF and the payment of those benefits.

For years, the CRF has used a multi-faceted approach to climate change, employing investment, active stewardship and public policy advocacy strategies. Over the last 10 years, the CRF has:

  • identified and assessed its risks through scenario analysis and carbon footprinting;
  • committed to investing $10 billion in sustainable strategies, including climate solutions;
  • engaged with the largest emitters to reduce risks and assess transition readiness; and
  • advocated at the international, national and state levels for policies to reduce climate-related investment risks and create opportunities for the CRF, and the economy as a whole.