A MESSAGE FROM THE COMPTROLLER
On the 47th Anniversary of Earth Day, now more than ever, we should celebrate the progress we have made and recommit ourselves to the work that needs to be done.

Almost ten years ago, I signed an Executive Order intended to make the Office of the State Comptroller a model agency for sustainability. Since then, we have made significant progress reducing the use of office paper by over 50 percent and cutting expenditures for electricity by over 40 percent. In addition, with growing evidence that sustainably-operated businesses outperform their peers, we are increasing green investments and using our influence as a shareholder to promote sustainability throughout the $186 billion portfolio of the New York State Common Retirement Fund. As climate change continues to be one of the greatest risks facing the global economy, I have been a strong advocate for better corporate practices on climate change and the environment to safeguard our investments and to promote a more environmentally sound, low-carbon economy.

The Presidential Executive Order directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to delay and repeal the Clean Power Plan and other important climate policies are troubling. The Administration’s proposals to gut the EPA’s budget by 31 percent and roll back protections for clean air and water are ill-conceived and dangerous, and would decimate 40 years of work to reduce pollution in America.

Be assured, I will continue to stand up in opposing policies that undermine the health and safety of New Yorkers, or threaten the long-term profitability of the companies in which the New York State Common Retirement Fund invests.

Please take a few moment to look through this newsletter for more important environmental news from my office.


DiNAPOLI URGES TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO INCREASE OIL TRAIN SAFETY

Comptroller DiNapoli has called on the Trump Administration to establish stronger rail safety measures in the wake of the recent train derailment in Newburgh, NY. In a March 27th letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Comptroller DiNapoli highlighted the Newburgh accident and drew the Secretary’s attention to a letter he had sent to the Obama Administration in April 2016, as a call for additional federal measures to reduce the risk of accidents involving trains transporting crude oil or other hazardous materials. Read more…

STATE PENSION FUND OUTLINES GREEN INVESTMENT STRATEGY

As Trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, Comptroller DiNapoli is responsible for managing the nation’s third largest public pension fund on behalf of one million members, retirees, and beneficiaries of the New York State and Local Retirement System. As a long-term investor and an advocate for sustainability of financial markets, the Fund considers Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors in its decisions to invest in individual companies and securities, and in market setors generally. Read more…


DiNAPOLI SEEKS BETTER CORPORATE PRACTICES ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Under Comptroller DiNapoli’s leadership, the Common Retirement Fund has taken a leading role in seeking better corporate practices on climate change to safeguard the Fund’s investments and to promote a more environmentally sound, low-carbon economy.

In 2017:

  • Six major energy companies—Dominion Resources, Inc., DTE Energy Corporation, ExxonMobil Corporation, Duke Energy Corporation, PPL Corporation and Pioneer Natural Resources—were asked to evaluate and report to shareholders on the impacts on their products and energy reserves on government climate policies designed to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
  • Resolutions were filed with Domino’s Pizza and the Kraft Heinz Company requesting the development of policies and plans to eliminate deforestation and address human rights issues related to their supply chains.
  • Under Armour, Assurant, and the W.R. Berkley Corporation agreed to prepare annual sustainability reports addressing company efforts to operate more sustainably, including plans to address climate change.

In 2016:

  • The Fund entered into agreements with five portfolio companies—General Dynamics, Best Buy, Nordstrom, ALLETE and NorthWestern Corporation—to improve their climate risk management.
  • The CRF 206 resolution at ExxonMobil, filed with the Church of England’s pension fund, received 38.2 percent support. It asked the company to assess and report on how its business model will be affected by global efforts to limit the average rise in temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius. The vote resulted in a record level of support for a climate change resolution at the company—despite the board’s recommendation that shareholders vote against the motion.
  • The Asset Owners Disclosure project, an international NGO established to protect retirement savings and other long-term investments from the risks posed by climate change, identified the Fund as the top North American fund in its Global Climate 500 Index 2016. The CRF was one of only 12 funds to have earned the highest possible grade.

 


STATE NEEDS TO IMPROVE NEW YORK’S DRINKING WATER INFRASTRUCTURE

New York’s water systems may require $40 billion or more in repairs and improvements over the next two decades, according to a report issued by Comptroller DiNapoli. Recent high-profile water system failures and problems with drinking water contamination in places such as Hoosick Falls, Syracuse and Newburgh are the latest signs of the need to invest more in water delivery systems. Read more…