The Board of Pensions seeks, and implements, positive energy strategies. It is an active participant in efforts by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to combat climate change and move the world toward meeting the standards of the Paris climate accord.
A portion of the Board's Balanced Investment Portfolio is allocated to companies dedicated to sustainable practices. And individual Presbyterians have the opportunity for sustainable investing through the Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (RSP).
In 2017, the Board began investing a portion of its Balanced Investment Portfolio with Impax in its Leaders strategy. This fossil fuel-free strategy seeks companies positioned for long-term profitability based on the transition to sustainable practices. The Board has invested $130 million, the largest sustainability investment in PC(USA) history.
Also in 2017, the Board added the sister fund Pax Global Environmental Markets Fund Institutional Class (PGINX) to the RSP. So, individual Presbyterians can use their RSP accounts to combat climate change. [Pax Global joined the PC(USA) Socially Responsible U.S. Equity Fund and PC(USA) Socially Responsible Balanced Fund as an environmentally responsible investment option in the RSP.]
The Board of Pensions convened a working group of representatives of all six General Assembly agencies in 2014 to assess and address the PC(USA) response to God's imperative to care for the Earth. The result was the Collaborative Agenda on Environmental Stewardship, unanimously adopted by the 222nd General Assembly (2016).
At the same time, the Board proposed an expansion of the Office of Faith-Based Investing and Corporate Engagement of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. The staff went from one to two professionals, with the second devoted to corporate engagement, including on climate change issues. The Board contributes up to $180,000 annually to the expanded effort and the Presbyterian Foundation, $30,000.
Great strides have come with the expansion. The committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI), an arm of the office, now tracks progress by individual companies on shrinking their carbon footprint.
In 2019, the Board became an investor signatory of Climate Action 100+, a coalition of 700 investor signatories from dozens of countries that manage assets totaling more than $68 trillion. The Board joined MRTI, which is globally recognized as a lead agency in this coalition.
The goal of CA100+: Drive the largest corporate emitters of greenhouse gases to change their practices and processes. The coalition’s engagement focuses on 166 companies it considers critical to the net-zero emissions transition. These include 100 companies that account for up to two-thirds of annual industrial carbon dioxide emissions, according to CDP.
CA100+ signatories signal their support for the Paris agreement. Because CA100+ is an association of active investors, those who choose divestment may not participate.