US - California's two biggest pension funds and two-dozen other institutional investors have called on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require publicly-traded companies to disclose the financial risks of global warming in their securities filings.
The US$204bn California Pulblic Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the $141bn California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) were among the 27 investors that stated in a letter to SEC Chairman Christopher Cox that climate change posed material financial risks to many of their portfolio companies and that those risks should be disclosed as a matter of routine corporate financial reporting to the SEC.
California State treasurer Phil Angelides (pictured), who is also a trustee of both CalPERS and CalSTRS said the vast majority of businesses have refused to voluntarily reported their climate risk to shareholders, citing ambiguous SEC rules governing the acknowledgment of such material dangers to shareholder wealth.
“Shareholders deserve to know if the companies they own are going down the prudent path – adopting environmental practices that will enable them to thrive in a world of increasing environmental concern and regulation – or whether they are following a path that will damage both our environment and our bottom line,” said Angelides.
CalPERS CEO Rob Feckner added investors were not receiving the climate risk information from companies that was essential to their investment decision-making.
William Thompson, the custodian and investment advisor to the New York City pension funds, was also among tyhe 27 institutional investors, who control a total of $1trn in assets
By Damian Clarkson
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