Yup, Still Divested
According to the District of Columbia Retirement Board, the retirement fund for District teachers, fire fighters, and police continues to have no direct investments in the top 200 companies holding fossil fuel reserves. This follows our announcement in June 2016 that the Retirement Board sold off the fund’s fossil fuel investments in accordance with its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policy. At the same time, the Council of the District of Columbia unanimously passed a resolution commending the DC Retirement Board for its action.
On March 13, 2017, our colleague Rick Sullivan from 350 MoCo attended a hearing of the DC Council’s Committee of the Whole on city office budgets. He reported that at the meeting, DCRB Executive Director Sheila Morgan-Johnson testified that the fund is performing well (“104.6% funded; worth $7,000,000, and had returns of 9.3% in FY2016”). She testified that “there is no exposure in the fund to CU 200 holdings” and “there has been no re-investment in those funds since last June .” In a one-on-one follow-up conversation, Ms. Morgan-Johnson and Fund attorney Joan Passerino confirmed that DC’s divestment from fossil fuels was authentic and complete, and that “there was no transfer of directly-held fossil fuel holdings to co-mingled funds.”
Ms. Passerino responded by email on March 29, 2017 to an inquiry by DC Divest that “the DC Retirement Fund continues to hold no direct investments in firms on the Carbon Tracker 200 list*.”
DC Divest applauds the DC Retirement Board’s action to reduce the exposure of the District and its retirees to risky and climate change-inducing fossil fuel investments. We encourage neighboring jurisdictions to follow suit in divesting from fossil fuels to protect their retirees from financial shocks from the decarbonization of our economy (and the consequent devaluing of fossil fuel reserves) as well as climate disruption. Divesting good for our economy, it’s good for our health and well-being, and it’s necessary for a stable climate.
* Carbon Tracker originally developed the list of 200 companies with the largest fossil fuel reserves. Subsequently, the organization transferred stewardship to Fossil Free Indexes (FFI), which is now maintains the list under the name Carbon Underground 200 (CU 200). More specifically, the FFI’s CU200 identifies the top 100 public coal companies globally and the top 100 public oil and gas companies globally, ranked by the potential carbon emissions content of their proven reserves.