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New York City Employees Retirement System

PRI reporting framework 2020

You are in Strategy and Governance » Promoting responsible investment

Promoting responsible investment

SG 09. Collaborative organisations / initiatives

09.1. Select the collaborative organisation and/or initiatives of which your organisation is a member or in which it participated during the reporting year, and the role you played.

Select all that apply

Your organisation’s role in the initiative during the reporting period (see definitions)

Provide a brief commentary on the level of your organisation’s involvement in the initiative. [Optional]

NYCERS is a founding member of PRI and signatory since 2006.  We strongly support principles of responsible investment, and try to abide by responsible investment practices in our choices of managers, as nearly all NYCERS assets are externally managed.  We meet regularly with PRI leadership and staff and participate regularly in PRI events.

Your organisation’s role in the initiative during the reporting period (see definitions)

Provide a brief commentary on the level of your organisation’s involvement in the initiative. [Optional]

Principally as a signatory, although staff communicates NYCERS' support for CDP disclosure to portfolio companies on a non-sytematic basis, typically as part of an engagement on sustainability reporting.

Your organisation’s role in the initiative during the reporting period (see definitions)

Provide a brief commentary on the level of your organisation’s involvement in the initiative. [Optional]

The NYCRS are the lead investors for engaging with transportation sector companies, including General Motors (GM), Ford, and Paccar, as well as General Electric (GE), and are part of the investor group engaging with Southern Company, Duke Energy, and AES. Prompted by concerns regarding their corporate lobbying activity, and its apparent misalignment with their stated positions on climate change, the NYCRS submitted lobbying disclosure proposals to Ford and GM.

At Ford and GM, discussions centered on urging the companies not to support a weakening of the CAFE standards which are under review, and to oppose efforts to undermine California’s authority to set vehicle emissions standards that 13 other states also adopt. Investor pressure resulted in 17 automakers (including Ford and GM) sending a letter in June 2019 to the administration and the governor of California asking that they reopen negotiations on vehicle standards. In July 2019, Ford (along with Honda, VW, and BMW) recognized California’s authority to set vehicle emissions standards by entering into a compromise agreement with California to annually reduce emissions on a nationwide basis. 

Your organisation’s role in the initiative during the reporting period (see definitions)

Provide a brief commentary on the level of your organisation’s involvement in the initiative. [Optional]

NYCERS is an active member of CII. Additionally Michael Garland, the Assistant Comptroller for Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment in the Comptroller's office, which implements NYCERS Coporate Governance acitivities, serves on the CII Board. NYCERS activiely particpates in CII initiatives.

Your organisation’s role in the initiative during the reporting period (see definitions)

Provide a brief commentary on the level of your organisation’s involvement in the initiative. [Optional]

Signed onto various letters coordinated by ICCR. 

---A December 2018 letter to 30 oil and gas companies calling on them to publicly and privately support continued direct methane regulation by the EPA and explicitly oppose the elimination of EPA methane regulation. The letter was signed by 61 investors representing $1.9 trillion in assets under management.

---A February 2019 Statement urging the Bangladesh Government not to abandon the Accord for Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh until the government is fully capable of continuing its work to ensure the safety of garment workers. The Accord was established in May 2013 to address workplace safety in Bangladesh garment factories following the deaths of 1,134 workers in the Rana Plaza building collapse. Currently over 1,600 factories and 2 million garment workers are covered by the Accord and since then it has conducted close to 35,000 inspections of garment factories that are driving systematic reforms that will significantly mitigate the risks of suture lapses in this sector. The statement, coordinated by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), was signed by a group of 190 global investors representing more than $3.1 billion in assets under management

 

Your organisation’s role in the initiative during the reporting period (see definitions)

Provide a brief commentary on the level of your organisation’s involvement in the initiative. [Optional]

NYCERS participates in the ICGN through the NYC Comptroller's Office, which is an active member.

Your organisation’s role in the initiative during the reporting period (see definitions)

Provide a brief commentary on the level of your organisation’s involvement in the initiative. [Optional]

Active member, both directly and through the NYC Comptroller's Office.  Comptroller Stringer serves on the Board of Directors of CERES, which oversees the INCR, and certain BAM staff are very active participants in CERES initiatives, meetings and working groups which include INCR CAR working Group, INCR Policy Working Group, Sustainable Stock Exchanges Working Group and the Climate 100+ initative.

          SUSTAINABILITY ACCOUNTABILITY STANDARDS BOARD (SASB)
        

Your organisation’s role in the initiative during the reporting year (see definitions)

Provide a brief commentary on the level of your organisation’s involvement in the initiative. [Optional]

In collaboration with other members of the SASB Investor Advisory Group, the Comptroller’s Office consulted with public companies and encouraged them to provide disclosure of material Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) information, as a result of SASB’s five-year-long initiative to develop industry-specific market standards.  The Comptroller’s Office continues to raise awareness of these materiality-based standards in conversations and engagements regarding sustainability-related transparency.  The effort is consistent with the NYC Funds longstanding efforts to encourage public companies to disclose meaningful and comparable ESG information to investors using globally recognized frameworks and protocols, including both SASB and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).  As part of the NYC Funds’ support for SASB, staff from the Bureau of Asset Management, including the CIO and Assistant Comptroller for Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment, in the Comptroller’s Office serve as members of SASB’s Investor Advisory Group..

          Global Adaptation & Resilience Investment Working Group (GARI)
        

Your organisation’s role in the initiative during the reporting year (see definitions)

Provide a brief commentary on the level of your organisation’s involvement in the initiative. [Optional]

The Special Counsel to the CIO has participated regularly in meetings of GARI.

          Thirty Percent Coalition Private Equity/LP initiative
        

Your organisation’s role in the initiative during the reporting year (see definitions)

Provide a brief commentary on the level of your organisation’s involvement in the initiative. [Optional]

We regularly participate in meetings of the Thirty Percent Coalition's Private Equity/LP initiative.  The Coalition promotes gender diversity, as well as other forms of diversity, in corporate boardrooms.  In the past two years, they began initiatives to promote gender diversity in the boards and management of private equity portfolio companies as well as in the staff of private equity firms.  Our office has not only participated in every meeting (through the Special Counsel to the CIO and the Director of Manager Diversity & Inclusion), but also served in leadership roles in the planning and identification of priority areas of the initiative.


SG 09.2. Assets managed by PRI signatories (Private)


SG 10. Promoting RI independently

10.1. Indicate if your organisation promotes responsible investment, independently of collaborative initiatives.

10.2. Indicate the actions your organisation has taken to promote responsible investment independently of collaborative initiatives. Provide a description of your role in contributing to the objectives of the selected action and the typical frequency of your participation/contribution.

Description

          NYCERS Trustees and Comptroller's staff speak frequently in support of responsible investment. Active ownership on listed equities is the most frequent area covered given that it is the most advanced aspect of NYCERS' responsible investment program. In addition, education was conducted in 2017 and 2018 through the engagement of a climate investment risk investment consultant and carbon footprint provider.
        

Frequency of contribution

Description

          Attend RI conferences and events at academic institutions and provide feedback on research presented.
        

Frequency of contribution

Description

          Include ESG questions manager due diligence and RFPs; signed statement in support of TCFD in Fall 2017
        

Frequency of contribution

Description

          NYCERS Trustees and Comptroller's staff speak frequently in support of responsible investment.
        

Frequency of contribution

Description

          We ask all potential investment managers undergoing due diligence whether they are a PRI signatory, including this information in all investment memoranda and report this to the Board of Trustees.
        

Frequency of contribution

Description

          Comptroller's Office occasionally writes opinion pieces in the media.
        

Frequency of contribution

Description

          Comptroller's Office is represented on the board of CERES and CII
        

Frequency of contribution

10.3. Describe any additional actions and initiatives that your organisation has taken part in during the reporting year to promote responsible investment [Optional]

NYCERS trustees and Comptroller's staff speak frequently in support of responsible investment.  Active ownership on listed equities is the most frequent area covered given that it is the most advanced aspect of NYCERS' responsible investment program.


SG 11. Dialogue with public policy makers or standard setters (Private)


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