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22 U.S. investors, led by CalSTRS and Oregon Treasurer, join call to action on climate policy

By Brian Bowen

Financial leaders join more than 150 other American businesses, including industry icons General Motors Co., Intel and Nike and more than 100 ski areas, in asserting, “Tackling climate change is one of America’s greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century … There must be a coordinated effort to combat climate change—with America taking the lead here at home.”

On the eve of the inaugural Global Investor Forum on Climate Change on June 13-14 in Hong Kong, a total of 22 American investment firms with approximately $240 billion in assets under management, led by the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) and the Oregon State Treasurer’s office, have signed the Climate Declaration, calling on U.S. policymakers to seize the American economic opportunity of addressing climate change.

These financial leaders join more than 150 other American businesses, including industry icons General Motors Co., Intel and Nike and more than 100 ski areas, in asserting, “Tackling climate change is one of America’s greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century … There must be a coordinated effort to combat climate change—with America taking the lead here at home.”

“As the global economy moves toward a low-carbon future, governments that act aggressively to enact strong, long-term climate and energy policies will reap the biggest rewards,” said Jack Ehnes, chief executive officer of CalSTRS, the world’s largest educator-only pension fund serving 862,000 beneficiaries with a portfolio valued at $167 billion. “In order to tackle the global climate crisis, we must realize the strength of our combined efforts. That is why CalSTRS signed the Climate Declaration. U.S. policy leaders need to step up on this issue and embrace climate change policies as an economic opportunity.”

Investors have been an important force in supporting policy changes related to clean energy and efficiency. Last year, investors managing $800 billion in assets called on Congress to renew the Production Tax Credit for renewable energy, which was ultimately extended for another year. Investors have also been outspoken proponents of state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPSs) that more than two-dozen states have enacted to boost sourcing of wind, solar and other renewable energy. RPSs have catalyzed billions of dollars of investment, thousands of new projects and hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, including 30,000 new jobs in 2012 alone.

“Being smarter when it comes to climate change is the right thing to do for all of our families, and it also will translate into economic and investment opportunities,” said Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, who has previously called for better disclosure of climate-related opportunities and risks. “I am proud to stand with Oregon’s largest employers and premier ski destinations to recognize that a cleaner future will also be a more profitable one.”

Today’s announcement comes on the eve of the first Global Investor Forum on Climate Change, sponsored by Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) along with the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, the EU-based Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change and the Investor Group on Climate Change, which represents Australian and New Zealand investors.

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