BOSTON — New York City pension leaders will press external fund managers, including private market fund managers, on Wednesday for details on their plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, officials said.
Public, and private market managers that have faced less pressure on climate issues to date, run most of the roughly $240 billion in New York City pension fund assets. Boards overseeing the majority of that money have approved new expectations for those managers, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander said, which will be announced on Wednesday.
Lander told Reuters in an interview the hope is that the new requirements by one of the largest U.S. pension funds will lead the investment firms themselves to adopt more aggressive steps to reach net zero emissions from portfolio companies.
“The purpose isn’t to get a gold star for our portfolio, the purpose is to work together with other investors to achieve changes in the real economy,” Lander said.
Lander urged BlackRock Inc last fall to take stronger environmental steps such as phasing-out high emitting assets. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink has defended the New York-based asset manager’s continued holdings in fossil fuel companies, at the same time facing criticism from Republicans the firm has gone too far in considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in investing.
Lander said the plans recently approved by New York City pension boards extend similar calls to other external managers, including those that manage the 25% of pension assets held in fixed income and the 25% in private markets.
His office will also consider further divestments beyond those made in the past, Lander said. (Reporting by Ross Kerber; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)