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NYC Retirement plans withdraw climate proposals at 3 companies

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Three of the five pension funds within the New York City Retirement Systems have withdrawn climate-related shareholder resolutions at General Electric, Duke Energy and Dominion Energy, saying the corporate boards have agreed to the funds’ requests, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander announced Thursday.

“Climate change presents a clear and significant risk to our economy,” Mr. Lander, the fiduciary for all five pension funds in the New York City system, said in a news release.

“Energy companies have an especially critical role to play in ensuring we are confronting those risks head on,” Mr. Lander said. “I applaud General Electric, Duke Energy, and Dominion Energy for providing investors with critical information on their lobbying activity and capital expenditure plans — so that investors can assess their efforts in relation to the urgent need to transition to a low carbon future.”

In the cases of Duke Energy and Dominion Energy, the pension funds prevailed upon the companies to provide detailed information about capital expenditures “to enable investors to assess whether the companies are on track to meet their net-zero goals,” the news release said.

“Duke Energy agreed to include additional disclosures in its earnings materials, upcoming climate report and ESG investor day materials,” the news release said. “Dominion Energy agreed to include in its climate report a narrative discussion on its capital allocation evaluation process related to the company’s climate goals and its planned and projected investments.”

For General Electric, the pension funds secured an agreement to make public climate-change related lobbying activities in 2022.

The comptroller’s office filed the shareholder resolutions on behalf of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, Teachers’ Retirement System of the City of New York and the New York City Board of Education Retirement System to be presented at the respective companies’ annual meetings. The three funds account for $192 billion of the pension system’s $262.4 billion assets.

Each pension fund has a separate board of trustees. The boards of the New York City Police Pension Fund and the New York City Fire Pension Fund didn’t participate.

The comptroller’s bureau of asset management handles investments for all five pension funds.

As of Feb. 28, the three pension funds owned 1.72 million shares in GE, valued at $164.3 million; more than 982,000 shares in Duke Energy, valued at $98.7 million; and more than 886,000 shares in Dominion Energy, valued at $70.5 million, the news release said.