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Poll result: Should public pension plans use ESG screens when investing?

P&I Online readers support public pension plans employing ESG screens, according to the results of last week's poll.

Almost 54% of poll respondents support the use of ESG screens and about 46% are opposed.

Following the December shootings in Newtown, Conn., a number of high-profile public pension plans have either cut, frozen or announced plans to divest holdings in firearms companies. The biggest pension plans to make announcements were the $154.3 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System and $150.1 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund.

Despite P&I Online readers' support for public pension plans using ESG screens, P&I published an editorial titled “Misdirected furor,” which made an argument against public pension plans attempting to push social change through investing.

The editorial even included a cartoon depicting plan executives as lemmings. The cartoon echoed the sentiment of a P&I Online reader, who commented on the poll page decrying the movement as hysteria.

See the editorial and the related cartoon.