Oregon Treasury is committed to sustainable investing
The Oregon Investment Council and Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read, who sits on the Council, are taking action to enhance long-term returns and bolster sustainability of investments across the portfolio.
Acting as a fiduciary, Treasury monitors and manages risks as a prudent global investor, engages as a responsible shareholder, and advocates for investor-friendly practices and regulations, such as improved identification and disclosure of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risks.
Among factors that impact the sustainability of the Oregon portfolio: the way companies are governed; identification and disclosure of materials risks to a company’s performance; and the effectiveness of financial regulations to ensure transparency and accountability in the financial marketplace.
In addition, the Oregon State Treasury is working to improve and standardize the empirical reporting of ESG and associated risk factors, in order to help investors including Oregon receive better and more uniform data across all companies in its portfolio, and therefore make better and more informed investment decisions.
Engagement and shareholder action
Treasury works to improve sustainability and long-term returns via several strategies and efforts, including:
Direct Engagement – As a major global shareholder, Treasury interacts directly with companies in pursuit of practices that will improve the long-term returns of the portfolio.
Proxy Voting - Oregon trust funds have the ability to press for positive changes in how corporations are run, via shareholder votes and referendums at corporate annual meetings.
Coalition Building - Treasury and corporations are often aligned, and we seek opportunities to collaborate with businesses. One example is the recent “Climate Declaration” campaign that was endorsed by Oregon breweries, ski areas and major employers including Nike and Intel.
Public Awareness - Public understanding moves public policy. Via communication channels and public outreach, Treasurer Read advances responsible investing and also flags corporate governance priorities and activities.
Regulatory Advocacy - The Treasurer, both individually and through national organizations like the Council of Institutional Investors, takes an active role in encouraging policymakers to protect consumers and appropriately regulate the financial sector.
Empirical ESG Research - As a fiduciary, Treasury applies industry best practices to its investment and asset allocation decisions. Treasury in 2018 hired an investment officer who is responsible for assembling and analyzing ESG material data.
Securities Litigation - When actions by corporations damage the value of Oregon funds and undermine Oregonians who rely on the funds, the Treasurer can initiate legal action.
Climate change is a growing concern for investors
Treasury is evaluating and managing climate risks and also how institutional investors are engaging as responsible shareholders to advance climate-related goals. That was the focus of the 2018 Oregon Sustainable Investing Summit.
In addition to engaging as a shareholder to seek better disclosure of climate risks, Treasury is investing in climate-connected opportunities, such as renewable energy projects.