June 17, 2013
External Affairs Branch
Robert Udall Glazier, Deputy Executive Officer
Brad Pacheco, Chief, Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Joe DeAnda, Information Officer
CalPERS Presents Findings of Sustainability & Finance Symposium, Launches Database of Studies
SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and its academic partners today presented the findings of their Sustainability & Finance Symposium, and launched a searchable database of more than 700 academic studies on sustainability factors that examine the impact of these factors on investment risk and return. The database is believed to be the most comprehensive collection of research of its kind.
The Symposium took place at UC Davis on June 7 and was part of CalPERS Sustainable Investment Research Initiative (SIRI), which was launched in January with a Call for Working Papers from scholars and investment practitioners globally in the fields of finance, economics, accounting, law and business. Selected papers contributed to a rigorous debate and discussion at the Symposium, and focused on the impact of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues on long-term value creation and capital market stability.
“We are undertaking research to assess how sustainability issues impact all CalPERS investments,” said Anne Simpson, CalPERS Senior Portfolio Manager and Director for Global Governance. “With this knowledge, we will be better able to define what is relevant and better understand investment risks and returns.”
Professor Brad Barber of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management and Robert Jackson of Columbia Law School, the academic partners with CalPERS in the SIRI project, jointly presented an overview of the research presented at the Symposium to the CalPERS Investment Committee.
CalPERS framework for ESG issues is grounded in the three forms of economic capital – financial, human and physical – that are needed for long-term value creation. SIRI was created by CalPERS in an effort to drive innovative thought leadership that will inform and advance the organization’s understanding of sustainability factors and the impact they have on financial performance.
The database of ESG research was also launched as part of today’s presentation. UC Davis was commissioned by CalPERS to seek out studies published in leading academic journals and innovative working papers at the forefront of examining sustainability factors and their impact on risk and long-term value creation. The resulting database of more than 700 documents will continue to grow as more research is conducted on these issues.
View additional materials from today’s Investment Committee meeting.
CalPERS is the largest public pension fund in the U.S. with approximately $260 billion in assets. The retirement system administers retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million current and retired California State, public school, and local public agency employees and their families on behalf of more than 3,000 public employers in the state, and health benefits for 1.3 million enrollees. For more information about CalPERS, visit www.calpers.ca.gov.