Group applauds Biden veto of resolution that attacked responsible investing
The president’s veto maintains the ability of investors to consider any and all material risks and opportunities.
Green America has praised President Joe Biden’s veto of a resolution that would have repealed a US Department of Labour (DOL) rule allowing retirement plans to consider environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) criteria and allowing retirement plan fiduciaries to vote on ESG-related shareholder resolutions.
By passing a joint resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) on March 1, House and Senate Republicans, joined by a few Democrats, sought to nullify the DOL’s Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights rule allowing responsible investing.
The Congressional resolution would have tied investors’ hands by limiting the scope of what pension fund managers can take into account – and put pension funds at risk. The president’s veto maintains the ability of investors to consider any and all material risks and opportunities.
Green America, which represents 250,000 individual consumers and investors and nearly 2,000 businesses and investment firms, applauded President Biden for vetoing the resolution.
“Decades of investment experience prove that taking environmental, social, and corporate governance criteria into account provides competitive returns by giving investors a greater understanding of risk and opportunity,” said Cathy Cowan Becker, Responsible Finance Campaign Director at Green America, in a statement shared with Financial Nigeria. “In particular, the ability to consider climate impacts is a top concern for our members and supporters. We thank President Biden for vetoing the Republican resolution that would have limited our freedom to invest, and for ensuring we can continue common-sense financial management.”
In preparing the rule, the DOL heard from thousands of stakeholders, including asset managers, labour organisations, corporate America, consumer groups, service providers, workers, investment advisers, and almost 7,000 members of Green America who signed its petition in support.
The rule allows, but does not compel, investors to consider ESG criteria in their decisions and shareholder votes, and confirms that fiduciaries may not sacrifice investment returns to promote social policy goals. The new rule restores the government’s neutral stance, requiring fiduciaries to use their best professional judgment to make investment decisions.
“The freedom to consider the real-world risks of the climate crisis not only protects investments from loss, but also opens up opportunities for substantial growth. The ability to invest in the clean energy boom is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and President Biden’s veto will help keep avenues clear for pensions, retirement funds, and state revenues to benefit,” Green America said in a statement.
Founded in 1982, Green America said it provides the economic strategies, organising power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems.
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