on Treasurers’ letter addressing ESG backlash

September 15, 2022

UNCEDED LENAPE LAND (SO-CALLED NEW YORK, NY) – Yesterday, 14 City and State Treasurers from across the United States released a letter calling out states like Texas, Florida, and West Virginia where Treasurers are implementing misguided, partisan anti-ESG policies costing taxpayers and communities millions.

On this latest letter, Richard Brooks, Climate Finance Program Director, issued the following statement:

“If fossil fuel-beholden Treasurers won’t take care of their people, the rest of us must act to protect their pension funds and communities from the worsening impacts of the climate crisis and its financial risks. It’s especially powerful to see this group of Treasurers, whose mandate is to invest for the long term, release this letter. We need more of this type of action to dispel the dangerous deceit, delay, and frankly nonsense in places like Texas and Florida where Treasurers and elected officials are abusing their power and costing constituents millions.”

This comes ahead of New York City Climate Week (Sept 19 – 25), and as communities across the country and around the world bear the brunt of unprecedented fires, floods, drought, and deadly heat.

The letter, signed by Treasurers of Maine, Nevada, Delaware, New Mexico, Illinois, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New York City, California, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, states:

“States that focus solely on the short term will fail to compete over the longer time horizon that is necessary for them and their pension funds to succeed. They will miss potential growth because their focus is on preserving the status quo. And they will suffer from possible suits or challenges that longer term players will avoid due to more rigorous oversight.”

To date, 1550 institutions representing more than $40 trillion in assets have committed to some level of divestment, with early adopters reporting neutral or positive returns, affirming the financial case for fossil fuel divestment is stronger than ever.