The View From The Treasury
The Washington County Democrats are a member of Divest Oregon, and we have been publicizing regular updates about the activities of the Divest Oregon organization, and their attempts to divest state retirement funds from fossil fuels. Tobias Read, our state treasurer and also a Washington County Democrat, has forwarded to us the information below about the work the Oregon State Treasury has been doing to remain sustainable and environmentally conscious:
Detailed information about this can be found here:
Treasury’s Commitment To Sustainable Investing
“Climate Change is real. It’s here. Now. And it makes our job of providing secure retirements for those firefighters, teachers, and public servants who have worked hard for a better Oregon, more difficult. That means we must look far into the future 30 and 40 years from now and consider all the risks and opportunities.
Planning and acting now to address the investment risks – and opportunities of the climate crisis – is a critical next step in making sure the pension fund will produce strong returns for generations to come.”
– Treasurer Tobias Read
Treasury recognizes the importance of taking action to understand and navigate investments risks related to the global climate crisis to help deliver sustainable long-term returns for our beneficiaries.
Oregon State Treasury is working to continuously improve our evaluation of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks as we make investment decisions. At the same time, we’re trying to expand and standardize the periodic reporting of ESG and associated risk factors so that Treasury staff, investment partners, and beneficiaries receive consistent, uniformed updates related to investments under Treasury’s management.
Treasurer Read is leading efforts to:
- Support the transition of OPERF to a net-zero carbon emission portfolio by no later than 2050.
- Set baseline emissions measurement and interim targets for managing climate risks and identifying opportunities for expanded investments in low-carbon solutions.
- Create methodologies and frameworks to measure progress on meeting interim targets and timelines for review of investments in carbon intensive activities like thermal coal, tar sands, and fracked natural gas.
- Provide recommendations for appropriate transparency and reporting mechanisms to demonstrate progress.
Timeline of Noteworthy Actions:
Treasury sets goal to double renewable energy holdings by 2020
Treasury recouped $5.2 million through securities related legal actions over misrepresented profits and price fixing
Treasury representatives meet directly with executive management teams and advocated for enhanced financial reporting and improved board diversity
Treasurer Read announces stepped-up shareholder climate action to enhance corporate disclosure, advance sustainable returns
Treasury hosts the Oregon Sustainable Investing Summit. Treasurer Read announces Treasury has reached its 2015 goal of doubling renewable energy holdings two years early
Treasury hires an investment officer who is responsible for assembling and analyzing ESG material data
Treasury supports investor-led effort to improve transparency and standardize private equity reporting
Oregon Investment Council revises foundational ‘Investment Beliefs’ policy to reflect commitment to advancing diversity among staff, managers, and contractors
Oregon Investment Council formalizes importance of ESG to Treasury’s investment decisions
Treasury completes study to evaluate real estate holdings and the potential effects of climate change
Treasury was part of a coalition of shareholders that voted to change the board of directors at Exxon, bringing new members with climate expertise to the table
Treasurer Read submits formal comments to the Securities and Exchange Commission on climate change disclosures
Public equity and fixed income portfolios made available on Treasury website, boosting transparency around how pension fund dollars are invested
Treasurer Read announces intent to decarbonize Oregon Public Employee Pension Fund (OPERF) by 2050
Treasurer Read pens op-ed in New York Times opposing efforts in other states to limit the consideration of ESG factors in investment decisions