Big news today! New York State just became the largest pension fund in the world to take comprehensive climate action, including fossil fuel divestment. The $226 billion state pension fund will review and divest from the riskiest oil and gas companies within 4 years and decarbonize the entire fund by 2040. This came after years of campaigning by the DivestNY coalition. 

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In essence, New York State’s Comptroller, who is the sole custodian of of the states $226 billion pension fund has announced that his office will:

  1. Decarbonize the pension fund’s full portfolio by 2040 with interim targets

  2. Complete a systematic review of all fossil fuel investments within 4 years, including divesting from any companies which don’t have a plan to leave fossil fuels behind. This includes transitioning their business away from oil and gas production, servicing or transportation, and alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement”

  3. Engage in rigorous reporting including annual in-depth reports on implementation plus media announcements each time a review is undertaken and completed.  Hiring of new staff to implement the plan.

  4. Commit to a higher level of director engagement including voting against board directors at non-fossil fuel companies that aren’t taking climate action in line with the fund’s decarbonization goal.

Read more about the announcement in the DivestNY Coalition media release and this background document.

In the 8 year history of the divestment movement, this is the biggest announcement by a pension fund and amongst the largest by any financial institution. It goes beyond the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act, legislation that DivestNY advocates had been pushing for years. And it’s all a real testament to the people-powered, inside / outside, lobby and advocacy campaign run by the multigenerational DivestNY coalition for years. 

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