UNJSPF Press Release: United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund announces divestment from Coal Energy Sector

UNJSPF Press Release: United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund announces divestment from Coal Energy Sector

23 September 2019

The mission of the Office of Investment Management (OIM) is to contribute to the global mission of the United Nations family of organizations by ensuring the long-term financial sustainability of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF, the Fund).

OIM strives to ensure that all of its activities integrate the principles of sustainable investing, including taking into account environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics, while remaining entirely consistent with our fiduciary responsibility to meet our long-term investment objective.

Additional information on our approach to sustainable investing is available at our website: https://oim.unjspf.org/ and in our 2018 Report on Sustainable Investing.

As detailed in our Investment Policy Statement, OIM’s objective is to integrate ESG considerations in our investment decision-making process across all asset classes. We believe that portfolios successfully managed in such a manner have the potential to provide returns that are superior to those of conventional portfolios, while exhibiting lower risk over the long-term.

The Office of Investment Management, which manages about $68 billion in assets of the Fund, will divest from investments in publicly traded companies in the coal energy sector by 31 December 2020. Additionally, OIM shall not make any new investments in the coal energy sector across all asset classes.

Coal as a source of energy is becoming less economically viable, posing a financial risk to our portfolio, with the costs of renewable sources of energy predicted to undercut commissioned coal almost everywhere by 20301. Phasing out of coal is a primary driver in the effort to support a global energy system scenario consistent with the 2015 Paris Agreement drafted by the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This action will contribute to the attainment of the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Sudhir Rajkumar, Representative of the Secretary-General (RSG) for UNJSPF Investments, stated: “We already exclude tobacco as well as controversial and conventional weapons from our investment portfolio, and this is another step directed at maintaining a robust long-term risk-return profile of our investments consistent with our fiduciary responsibility to secure the financial future of our participants and beneficiaries.”

Herman Bril, Director in the Office of Investment Management, who has lead responsibility for the Fund’s sustainable investment strategy, stated: “This divestment, together with a comprehensive engagement strategy and active investment management, will help us achieve our sustainable investing objectives.”

 

1. Bloomberg NEF. New Energy Outlook. 2019.