Despite Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' anti-ESG campaign, the Florida State Board of Administration disclosed Monday it has committed $200 million to an alternative investment fund focused on clean energy and the energy transition.
The Tallahassee-based board oversees a total of $239.6 billion, including the $183.9 billion Florida Retirement System.
Mr. DeSantis is one of the board's three trustees. The new commitment of $200 million is to Blackstone Green Private Credit Fund III, the latest in Blackstone's series of green-energy credit funds.
Blackstone announced the creation in 2022 of Blackstone Credit's Sustainable Resources Platform. The platform is focused on investing in and lending to renewable energy companies and those supporting the energy transition, according to the manager's website.
Kent Perez, the board’s deputy executive director, said in an email: “All SBA investment decisions are made singularly and solely for the purpose of maximizing financial return, managing risk, defraying reasonable costs and diversifying plan assets.”
The disclosure of the clean-energy fund commitment comes less than two weeks after the Florida Senate voted 28-12 in favor of a bill that Mr. DeSantis, a likely 2024 presidential candidate, has supported as the latest salvo in his war against ESG investing.
It requires the Florida state board to make investment decisions "solely on pecuniary factors." The board consists of Mr. DeSantis, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, and Attorney General Ashley Moody as trustees. The bill also requires the FRS investment policy statement to comply with the requirement that only pecuniary factors be considered in investment decisions, which formalizes under a state statute an action for which the three trustees already voted. They passed a resolution in August that all decisions related to the investment management of the retirement system will not include ESG considerations.
Bryan Griffin, Mr. DeSantis' spokesman, could not be immediately reached for comment.