In the realm of socially responsible investing, the New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, is staking out a role in the manufacture of palm oil from sustainable sources.
Earlier this month, Thomas P. DiNapoli, the state comptroller and sole trustee of the $152.9 billion pension fund, announced that Dunkin' Brands Group Inc., owner of Dunkin' Donuts, would set a date for making sure it receives all of its palm oil from sustainable sources. The company will establish a timetable during the second quarter, when it issues its next corporate social responsibility report.
In return, the pension fund has withdrawn a shareholder resolution that asked the company “to address the social and environmental concerns associated with palm-oil production,” according to a news release from the comptroller's office. The growing popularity of palm oil has led to greater production from unsustainable sources, which has contributed to destruction of rain forests and promotion of climate change, the news release added.
“This is part of the fund's larger comprehensive look at climate change,” Eric Sumberg, a spokesman for Mr. DiNapoli said in an interview.
The pension fund also negotiated palm-oil agreements with J.M. Smucker Co. in 2011 and the former Sara Lee Corp. in 2010.
As of March 1, the New York pension fund owned 51,400 shares of Dunkin' Brands stock worth about $1.9 million.