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Trillion Dollar Transformation: Fiduciary Duty, Divestment and Fossil Fuels in an Era of Climate Risk


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Event to be held at the following time, date, and location: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 from 8:30 AM to 11:45 AM (EDT), Rockefeller Brothers Fund, 475 Riverside Drive Suite 900, New York, New York 10115

The financial risks associated with climate change are increasingly acknowledged; even as substantial investments continue to support industrial sectors and companies whose core business exacerbates the threat of climate change. Prudent investors increasingly consider climate risk to the portfolio, which a growing global scholarship suggests has material financial and fiduciary implications. Further, investors today can consider an exciting array of safe and stable investments that can drive capital to those sectors and corporations that provide services without risking further damage to the climate.

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The financial risks are particularly pertinent for pension fund investments which, by their nature, are long-term investments. Many are made over the same timescales during which significant increases in the physical impacts caused by climate change are expected. Beyond the actual devastation caused by climate change, many of these investments are subject to increased financial risk, for example clean renewable energy is increasingly outcompeting fossil fuels on price; policymakers continue to implement policies to combat climate change to meet their obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement, and as yet unknown technological innovations prepare to enter the market.


The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) has teamed up with Mercer to produce two forthcoming reports: one on the legal requirements facing pension fund trustees as fiduciaries regarding the assessment of climate risk; and the other on the financial case in support of assessing climate risk in institutional investor portfolios.

Together with Wallace Global Fund, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and DivestInvest Philanthropy, we invite you to join us for a preview and a high-level discussion into this emerging research that incorporates expert and industry perspectives on the fiduciary duty implications of investing in a time of climate change.

Presentations by:

  • Steven Feit - Staff Attorney, Climate & Energy Program, CIEL. Steven will preview CIEL’s research into the evolving fiduciary implications of climate change to pension fund trustees.
  • Alex Bernhardt - Principal US Responsible Investment Leader, Mercer. Alex will preview Mercer’s research into the related financial implications.
  • Bevis Longstreth - Former SEC Commissioner. Bevis will offer reflections on the research and the fiduciary duty of U.S. institutional investors to divest from fossil fuels. He will be joined by perspectives from Europe and Canada.
  • Mike Ibarra - Senior Vice President, Investment Management, Amalgamated Bank. Mike will discuss that institution’s emerging perspective on climate change, fiduciary duty and investment.

The event will be facilitated by Tom Kruse, Program Director for the global governance portion of the Democratic Practice program, Rockefeller Brothers Fund.


If you're interested in attending this event please contact

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