Leading the Way on Climate Investment

Climate change poses risks to the economy, financial markets, and the Fund’s investments. Managing these risks is integral to protecting the Fund’s investments, and capitalizing on the opportunities that arise from the transition to a net-zero economy is similarly critical to ensuring that the Fund is best-positioned for market changes stemming from the transition.

Comptroller DiNapoli’s Climate Action Plan takes a comprehensive approach to addressing climate risk and investing in climate solutions. This multi-faceted approach employs sustainable investment strategies, active engagement with portfolio companies and managers, sophisticated risk assessments, strong public policy advocacy and, as a last resort, divestment.

Because of his efforts, DiNapoli has been recognized as a global leader in addressing climate change-related investment risks and pursuing opportunities for the Fund’s investments.

To learn more about how the Fund is addressing climate change-related risk, please see the 2023 Progress Report on the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s Climate Action Plan.

Fund’s 2040 Net Zero Commitment

In December 2020, Comptroller DiNapoli announced that the Fund has adopted a goal to transition its portfolio to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. As the world increasingly moves toward net zero emissions targets by or before 2050, this goal will continue to ensure the Fund’s portfolio is adapting to the anticipated transition.

As part of its net zero commitment, the Fund will continue to:

  • Increase its engagement efforts with companies across industries to encourage them to reach net zero carbon emissions more quickly.
  • Vote against board directors at portfolio companies that fail to take steps to mitigate climate risks.
  • Expand its investments in climate solutions.

Climate Action Plan

In 2019, Comptroller DiNapoli released a Climate Action Plan that lays out a path for the Fund to further address climate risk in its portfolio. Key components of the multi-faceted plan include:

  • active engagement with portfolio companies and managers;
  • developing and utilizing industry-specific minimum standards and risk assessments to evaluate companies in high-impact sectors on their readiness to transition to a low-carbon economy;
  • public policy advocacy at the international, federal and state levels; and
  • committing $40 billion to the Fund’s Sustainable Investment and Climate Solutions (SICS) Program.

Investing in Climate Solutions

Comptroller DiNapoli and the Fund have committed more than $20 billion to sustainable investment opportunities to date, with the goal of investing $40 billion by 2035. Finding those investment opportunities that will provide solid and sustained returns is the work of the Sustainable Investment and Climate Solutions Program. The Fund invests in clean energy, climate solutions, green buildings and infrastructure, and other sustainable investments across all asset classes.

For more information, see the Fund’s Sustainable Investment and Climate Solutions Program.

Engagement and Advocacy

Comptroller DiNapoli advocates for companies to disclose and address climate risk, and commit to long-term business model changes that will allow them to thrive in a low-carbon economy. He also provides public policy leadership at the global, federal and state levels on climate issues that may impact the Fund’s returns. As part of his advocacy, DiNapoli has:

  • Filed over 160 climate-related shareholder resolutions that have resulted in more than 85 agreements to enhance climate risk disclosure and set emissions reduction, renewable energy, and energy efficiency goals.
  • In 2023, voted against over 350 directors at companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Kinder Morgan for failing to address climate risks. 
  • Participated in Climate Action 100+ engagements including discussions of decarbonization of gas utilities, Scope 3 disclosure and targets, capital allocation alignment and just transition with Duke Energy Corporation, Ford Motor Company, American Electric Power Company, Inc., and Exxon Mobil. 
  • Continued to encourage the SEC to finalize its proposed climate change disclosure rule and submitted a comment letter with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency supporting methane regulations. 

Reports and Background