New York City pension funds will invest more than $6 billion in projects that fight climate change, surpassing their $4 billion goal, trustees said Tuesday.
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Mayor Bill De Blasio and other trustees said they plan to double investments in public companies offering alternative energy sources, efficient technology, pollution prevention and more, from a previous 2018 goal of increasing investments to about $4 billion or 2% of assets, by the end of 2021.
Combined with current commitments it adds up to more than $6 billion across the portfolio of all five pension funds in the New York City Retirement Systems.
Mr. Stringer said in a statement that the investments in climate change solutions are "in the fiduciary interest of our beneficiaries and together we're leading the charge to build a cleaner and greener future for all." Mr. Blasio said in the same statement that the pension trustees "are meeting the moment."
In January, two New York City pension funds said they would divest an estimated $4 billion in securities related to fossil-fuel companies. The $77.4 billion New York City Employees' Retirement System and the $91.4 billion New York City Teachers' Retirement represent the largest pension funds within the $239.8 billion system.
A third pension fund, the $7.8 billion New York City Board of Education Retirement System, also voted for divestment one day later, on Jan. 26.
In early 2018, the trustees committed the pension system to divesting fossil fuels that they defined as coal, oil and natural gas used for energy, and began assessing the portfolio's exposure to fossil-fuel stranded assets, industry decline and other financial risks stemming from climate change.
In December, the trustee for the New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the $226 billion pension fund's goal to transition its portfolio to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. The transition involves reviewing within four years the investments in energy sector companies, assessing their transition readiness and climate-related investment risk and divesting those failing to meet minimum standards, where consistent with his fiduciary duty.