NYSTRS ceases investing in oil, gas & coal

The New York State Teachers’ Retirement System has said it will stop investment in 20 oil and gas and thermal coal companies.

The holdings have a market value of $1 billion that the pension fund says pose climate-related risks to its investment portfolio. It will also divest $66 million worth of other thermal coal holdings. The fund says the announcement comes following its process to analyze
climate risks and opportunities related to NYSTRS’ investment portfolio.

The initial climate action plan calls for divestment from all directly held public equity thermal coal holdings that derive more than 10% of their revenue from activities related to thermal coal. It will also create a Restricted List to prohibit directly held internal and passive external public equity portfolios from further purchases of certain carbon-intensive fossil fuel holdings.

“NYSTRS fully understands its important responsibility as an institutional investor to actively pursue the path to a climate-conscious future,” said NYSTRS Executive Director & Chief Investment Officer Thomas K. Lee. “This initial climate action plan squarely puts the System on that path while remaining consistent with NYSTRS’ fiduciary duties.”