The New York State Common Retirement Fund (Fund) has reached agreements with four major U.S. companies to evaluate and set targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and regularly report on their progress toward meeting their goals, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, trustee of the Fund, announced today. In response to the agreements, the Fund withdrew its shareholder resolutions with the companies.
“More companies understand that reducing their carbon emissions and addressing the risks posed by climate change can help them achieve long-term success and benefit investors," DiNapoli said. “With these agreements, the companies are contributing to building a lower-carbon economy and are recognizing their responsibility to be responsive to shareholders’ concerns about the risks posed by climate change.”
The Fund reached GHG agreements with HVAC company Carrier Global Corp., pizza maker Papa John’s International Inc., aluminum producer Century Aluminum Co. and Spirit Reality Inc., a real estate investment trust.
The Kraft Heinz Co. agreed to establish deforestation-free sourcing policies in response to a shareholder proposal the Fund co-filed with Green Century Capital Management Inc.
Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has been recognized as a global leader for his efforts to protect the Fund’s investments, address material risks from climate change and pursue sustainable opportunities for the Fund’s investments. As part of his comprehensive Climate Action Plan to protect investments, DiNapoli has called on companies to focus on the climate change risks they face, to report on and reduce their GHG emissions and to acknowledge the business opportunities and risks in the emerging low carbon economy.
The Fund has filed more than 160 climate-change-related shareholder resolutions and reached 85 agreements with portfolio companies to analyze climate risks, set GHG reduction targets and renewable energy and energy efficiency goals, prevent deforestation, publish sustainability reports and appoint directors with environmental expertise.
In recent years the Fund reached agreements with companies including American Electric Power, Eversource Energy, Carnival Corp., Domino's Pizza Inc. and steel-maker Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc. to set greenhouse gas emissions targets aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
In December 2020, DiNapoli announced the Fund adopted a goal to transition its portfolio to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
New York State Common Retirement Fund
The New York State Common Retirement Fund is one of the largest public pension funds in the United States. The Fund holds and invests the assets of the New York State and Local Retirement System on behalf of more than one million state and local government employees and retirees and their beneficiaries. It has consistently been ranked as one of the best managed and best funded plans in the nation.