“New Labor Department rule puts 401(k)s at greater risk” – The Hill – October 21, 2020

On October 21, 2020 Fiona Reynolds, CEO of the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), contributed an opinion piece to The Hill.

The largest asset owners and managers around the world are considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in their investment decision making more than ever before, and yet U.S. regulators are moving in the opposite direction.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) moved to finalize a new proposed rule that would limit employer-sponsored retirement plans from investing with ESG factors in mind. The proposal represents a concerted effort to block the progress toward ESG integration we’ve seen around the world, and thereby undermines investors’ ability to gauge risks and generate value in the U.S. market.

Since it was announced in July, the DOL’s proposal has faced a tidal wave of opposition from pension funds, money managers and investor organizations, including my organization, the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), which represents over 3,000 global investors with more than $100 trillion in assets. In fact, more than 95 percent of the public comments on the DOL’s proposed rule opposed it. The PRI was among those that submitted a comment to the DOL, where we laid out the case for why the proposed rule would hurt rather than help American investors.

By ignoring the growing focus on, and evidence of, material ESG factors by investors and regulators around the world, the DOL has proposed U.S. investors take a significant step backward on responsible investing. This would not only hamper U.S. investors ability to compete in a global market in which ESG factors are increasingly shaping investment decisions and outcomes, but it would put the very people the DOL is meant to serve — American retirees — at greater risk.”

You may read the opinion piece on The Hill internet site.

 

“LSE launches ambitious plan to embed environmental sustainability across its operations” – London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) – October 21, 2020

On October 21, 2020 the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) “launched its plan to tackle the climate crisis and announced it will be the first UK university to become carbon neutral, for all the emissions it currently measures.

The university’s Sustainability Strategic Plan was created in full consultation with the LSE community. Through a series of events and workshops, engagement with Student Union societies and an online survey, LSE students and staff made clear their desire for the university to take bold action on the environment.

In response, the new plan – co-ordinated by an advisory group of staff and students under the leadership of Professor Nicholas Stern – sets out six key areas of focus to maximise LSE’s impact in shaping a more sustainable world.

These areas include collaboration; education; engagement and leadership; investment; operations; and research.

  • As a social science institution, LSE is well-placed to embed sustainability into the curriculum and equip students with knowledge and skills to address climate change. This includes promoting and introducing new courses and extra-curricular activities which relate to sustainability and highlighting these clearly to students, for instance by using green tags.
  • The School will make sustainability a key part of investment decisions and strengthen its Socially Responsible Investment policy towards fund managers who embed climate change in their company selection using tools such as the Transition Pathway Initiative.”

You may read the press release on the LSE internet site.

Geoffrey Mazullo, Principal, Emerging Markets ESG, is an alumnus of the LSE.  As a student, he received an environmental bursary, to promote environmental practices, including recycling, on LSE’s campus.  He commented on the university’s Sustainability Strategic Plan.