Michael W. Frerichs of the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office has released the 2019 Annual Sustainable Investment Report. An excerpt:
– Passage of the Illinois Sustainable Investing Act – Spearheaded by Treasurer Frerichs, Illinois became the first state in the nation to pass a law establishing a framework for public fund managers to integrate sustainability factors in their investment portfolios.
– Conducted 50+ Sustainability Analyses of Individual Companies – Using a customized assessment process
that draws on a combination of internal analysis and external reporting, the Treasurer’s Office developed sustainability grades for more than 50 companies as part of the approval process of debt issuers for the Office’s two internally managed investment programs.
– Addressing Climate Risks and Opportunities – The Treasurer’s Office is taking numerous actions to address the systemic financial risks associated with climate change, including engaging major emitters directly, encouraging large asset managers like Vanguard to use their proxy votes to address climate risks, and investing $70 million directly in green bonds.
– Closing the Gender and Racial Divide on Corporate Boards: The Midwest Investors Diversity Initiative and Thirty Percent Coalition – The Treasurer’s Office took over leadership of the Midwest Investors Diversity Initiative, a 13-member investor coalition working to increase racial and gender diversity on corporate boards of Midwest companies. Since 2016, when the group was formed, MIDI has engaged 54 companies, 40 of which added diverse board members and 32 adopted a diverse search policy. And as a leader of the Thirty Percent Coalition, the Treasurer’s Office and fellow investors have successfully engaged 275 companies that have now appointed a woman to their boards.
– Assets Managed by MWVD Firms Increased from $18 Million to $1.4 Billion – Total assets managed by minority, women, veteran, and disabled-owned (MWVD) firms increased from $18 million in December 2014 to $1.4 billion in December 2019. That’s a 78-fold increase.
– 25,580 Proxy Votes Cast – The Treasurer’s Office voted on 25,580 proposals on corporate proxy ballots in 2019 and now has engaged hundreds of companies on sustainability issues since it launched Raising The Bar in September 2016.