The pension funds were graded on their proxy-voting guidelines, proxy-voting records, and data transparency.
On proxy-voting guidelines, no pension system received an A grade, but three of the five New York City pension funds covering city employees, the Board of Education and teachers, earned a B for addressing systemic risk and climate resolutions. Half of the 24 pension funds studied earned an F.
On proxy-voting records, all five New York City pension funds plus California, Massachusetts and Oregon received an A, while pension funds in Colorado, Maine, New Mexico, Nevada and the Illinois State Board of Investment got an F.
More pension funds scored better on data transparency, with 13 receiving an A+, while four state pensions received D or F grades.
"The findings of this analysis are clear: Far too few state pensions are taking adequate steps to address climate-related financial risks and protect their members' hard-earned savings, raising serious concerns about their execution of fiduciary duty," the report's executive summary said.
A spokeswoman for Stand.earth said in an email that the organizations met with staff from seven of the pension funds analyzed and received confidential feedback, while a few more pension funds found the report accurate.
"How pensions vote at annual shareholder meetings may be the most important climate votes that you've never heard of," said Alec Connon, coalition co-director with Stop the Money Pipeline, in a news release about the report.
Amy Gray, associate director of climate finance for Stand.earth, said it is disappointing to see many funds not using proxy-voting strategies to address the financial risks of climate change. "This report is a stark reminder that pension funds can — and must — do so much more to wield their massive investor power," Gray said in the news release.