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For Immediate Release


Thomas Oppel
(603) 304-6767‬‬‬‬‬

Press Release

American Sustainable Business Council Celebrates NY State Pension Fund Move to Divest from Fossil Fuels


Following years of campaigning, American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and other members of the DivestNY coalition are celebrating today’s climate win: New York State’s decision to begin divesting its $226 billion pension fund – the world’s largest – from fossil fuels in the next four years. “We are delighted to know that NY State will start divestiture from the most concerning oil and gas companies near-term and will decarbonize the entire fund by 2040, and we’re proud to have helped in DivestNY’s vital climate campaign toward this goal,” says ASBC President David Levine. “On behalf of the 250,000-plus responsible business leaders and investors ASBC represents, we applaud the NY State Comptroller for this significant move and the example it sets for the rest of our country.” 

The comptroller’s office, custodian of the state’s $226 billion pension fund, will initiate measures to decarbonize the pension fund’s portfolio entirely by 2040, with interim targets. It will complete a systematic review of all fossil fuel investments within four years, including divesting from any companies lacking a plan to leave fossil fuels behind, which would include aligning with the Paris Climate Agreement and transitioning away from oil and gas production, servicing or transport. The state will provide news updates each time it undertakes and completes review of a particular investment, plus annual in-depth reports on implementation. It will also engage more rigorously with companies’ leadership, including voting against board directors of non-fossil fuel companies that fail to take climate action in line with the fund’s decarbonization goal.

“Like New York’s ban on fracking, this move will earn global acclaim and makes good economic sense,” says New York Sustainable Business Council Executive Director Bob Rossi. “While the future of fossil fuel investments looks grim, the clean energy sector is booming with tech innovation and accelerating popular demand.  New York should capitalize on this energy transition. We applaud Comptroller DiNapoli and urge him to take a step further: reinvest our pension fund specifically in the growing renewable energy business community based here in New York State. This would ensure their success.”

ASBC member Ron Gonen, CEO of Closed Loop Partners, agrees. “This comprehensive climate action plan is a step in the right direction. Wasteful, extractive businesses cost taxpayers money and fuel an inefficient, linear, take-make-waste economy. Decarbonizing and dematerializing our economy is critical to create a more sustainable, circular economy that reduces waste and protects the environment."

“As the economic risks from climate change mount, it’s clear we need strong, responsible action by government, business and investors,” ASBC’s Levine concludes. “If we redirect our considerable investment assets out of fossil fuels and into the many sectors that foster a more equitable, sustainable economy, we’ll have an economy with returns we can truly live with.” 
Read more about the announcement in the DivestNY Coalition media release.


The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) advocates for policy change and informs business owners, policymakers and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, broadly prosperous, sustainable economy. Founded in 2009, its membership represents over 250,000 businesses in a wide range of industries. 

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