At least one pension fund is seeing the potential for “green” (read: big money) in clean energy investments.
CalSTRS announced plans to significantly ramp up investments in the “green” sector from $1.4 billion to $3.7 billion over the next 5 years. AP reports:
CalSTRS CEO Jack Ehnes says the pension fund is seeing more opportunities in low-carbon projects and technologies. The fund is hoping also to help push for stronger policies aimed at fighting climate change, Ehnes says.
If policies are adopted that impose a price on carbon emissions to discourage pollution, the fund could increase its investments further, to $9.5 billion.
The fund has a $188 billion portfolio.
The clean energy and technology investments will be made through holdings in private equity firms, bonds, and infrastructure as suitable investments come available, the fund says.
The move comes on the heels of calls in recent years for pension funds to divest from fossil-fuel dependent investments. From the Financial Times:
At least 25 cities in the US have passed resolutions calling on pension fund boards to divest from fossil fuel holdings, according to figures from 350.org, a group that campaigns for investors to ditch their fossil fuel stocks.
Three Californian cities, Richmond, Berkeley and Oakland, urged Calpers, one of the largest US pension schemes, with $288bn of assets, and which manages their funds, to divest from fossil fuels. Calpers has ignored their request.
Calpers said: “The issue has been brought to our attention. [We] believe engagement is the best course of action.
No pension funds have yet divested from fossil fuel-dependent investments for social reasons, including CalSTRS.
But you can expect pension funds to go where they think the money is; in the case of CalSTRS, they are seeing “green” in clean energy going forward.
Photo: Paul Falardeau via Flickr CC License