US - Pressure from pension funds has influenced the Senate Appropriations Committee to approve part of the Financial Services Bill which calls for better climate change disclosure by publicly traded companies.
Anne Stausboll, interim CIO, the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), said the fund would continue to push for the SEC to enact regulation on the issue.
Stausboll added: "CalPERS is supporting other efforts to improve climate risk disclosure, including state legislation in California and a National Association of Insurance Commissioners proposal to improve climate-related disclosure among insurers.
"But SEC guidance for all publicly-traded companies is needed to protect investors."
Institutional investors managing assets of around US$1.5trn petitioned the SEC in September demanding it issued direction that companies adequately disclosed material climate-related risks and opportunities.
The approved bill would encourage the SEC to "give prompt consideration to this petition and to provide guidance on the appropriate disclosure of climate risk".
Ceres, the agency coordinating investor efforts, commended the Rhode Island senator who had worked to include the climate change section in the bill.
Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres and director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), said: "We are pleased with Senator Reed's continued leadership in recognising the importance of climate risk disclosure to investors, as well as that of the entire Appropriations Committee in taking this important step.
"Information on climate-related risks that companies are providing is not adequate and at the level investors need to make informed investment decisions," Lubber added.
Earlier this month, the US$171bn California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) announced it had committed to almost double its climate change investments and increase the diversity of its manager portfolios (www.globalpensions.com, 11 July 2008).
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