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Turns out setting the world on fire is a threat to economic stability?

Star Wars meme highlighting Washington State Investment Board investments in fossil fuels

Do you know or care what the Washington State Investment Board is? The WSIB manages over 200 BILLION (!!) dollars in Washington State employee pension funds. They are using their significant power as a major shareholder in fortune 500 companies, including mega banks, to tell these companies that meeting climate goals is a waste of time!

Don’t believe me? In a new report released today by Stop the Money Pipeline, Sierra Club and Stand.Earth shows how state pension funds voted on shareholder resolutions related to climate change. The WSIB received an F grade while many other blue states received A grades.

For example, last year shareholders at Chase put forward a resolution asking the mega bank to make actual plans to meet stated climate goals. Our state pension fund with its massive amount of shares voted no!

The WSIB will tell anybody who asks that their only job, as defined by our elected legislature, is to maximize returns for pension holders, but they sometimes leave out that they have to do that with a “prudent level of risk”.

Despite federal regulators and economists raising the alarm that climate change poses a systemic risk to economic stability and future pension returns. Climate impacts could trigger massive financial crises, dramatically impacting future pension returns. Our State Investment Board is gleefully pouring fuel on the fire and blocking attempts to stop mega banks from investing in fossil fuel expansion!
Now you’re probably thinking why hasn’t somebody done something about this? Thankfully Rep Davinna Duerr from Bothell has introduced a bill (HB2405) to get the WSIB to incorporate “climate financial risk” (Finance speak for “it turns out setting the world on fire is a threat to economic stability”), into how it invests and how it votes on shareholder resolutions.

Do you want the Washington State Investment Board to stop pushing banks to fund fossil fuel expansion?

Please email your reps today and tell them to give HB 2405 a hearing!

Cheers,
Andrew

PS. If you’re a pension holder yourself (any current or former state employee IE public school worker, firefighter, state agency worker etc.) you can play an impactful role by talking to your union or advocacy group about supporting this effort. If that’s you please fill out this form so we can get in touch!

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