Mercer to educate US public pension funds on high-carbon portfolios, White House says

Investment consultant to partner with Center for International Environmental Law

The White House has announced that Mercer Investment Consulting is launching two new initiatives with institutional investors around climate change: a project to educate US public pension funds on risks associated with high-carbon portfolios and a scoping of investment products available in the clean tech space.

Mercer will work with the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), the Washington-based environmental law firm, on educating pension fiduciaries about the potential legal and economic risks associated with high-carbon portfolios and their opportunities to reduce those risks.

And Mercer will also scope the landscape of investment products available to members of Divest/Invest Philanthropy, a coalition of over 140 foundations and other investors representing $12bn that have committed at least 5% of their endowments to investing in clear energy and climate solutions.

The news came amid a raft of new commitments to accelerate investment in clean-energy transformation, in the context of the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) – the follow-up meeting to the COP21 – in San Francisco this week. In a message to delegates, President Obama said: “We have to accelerate our transition to the clean energy economy of tomorrow.”And it comes a week after the Obama Administration announced measures to make sure contractors in the federal government’s supply chain disclose greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related risk data, in a bid to help meet demand from investors.

The Obama Administration also announced that the McKnight Foundation has invested more than $370m in clean energy and the Nia Community Fund is adding $5m to its endowment that is 100% invested in sustainable and clean-energy solutions.

In a statement profiling these commitments, White House representatives say: “Institutional investors must take the long view in order to deliver long-term value to their stakeholders, so its no surprise that a growing number of foundations, pension funds, and other long-term investors are aligning their portfolios with the clean-energy transformation now underway.”

In related news, California-based Wilshire Consulting last month launched a product to assist clients concerned with the implications of climate changed.

Dubbed the Wilshire ClimateLens, it is designed to help its clients understand and make informed decisions about the risks and opportunities associated with climate change.