For Immediate Release:
Dec. 14, 2021
AFREF and Partners Submit Comments On Labor Department Proposal to Allow Retirement Plans To Consider Sustainability, Jobs, Equity, Workers
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund (AFREF) submitted comments to the Labor Department supporting a proposed rule that will allow and encourage private retirement plans and pensions to consider sustainability factors like climate change, workers’ rights, racial, economic and environmental justice, and corporate governance when investing and voting proxies.
“Fiduciaries should be able to prudently choose investments that provide long-term benefits, yield healthy contributions to retirement plans, enhance—rather than undermine—workers’ share of earnings, and promote a healthy and livable planet, fair working conditions, and a racially just and democratic society while honoring their fiduciary duty,” reads a joint comment submitted by AFREF, the Sierra Club and 10 other organizations.
The letter continues, “In addition to supporting the Proposal, we call for the Department in future rulemakings, guidances and other agency actions to set a minimum standard for fiduciaries’ consideration of systemic risks to retirement savings, and to require that participant-directed plans offer a sustainable investing option addressing systemic risks among a prudently constructed lineup of funds offered to participants.”
Americans for Financial Reform Sr. Policy Analyst Alex Martin added “The DOL was right to move quickly to restore discretion to fiduciaries to consider climate and other sustainability factors, which have become core components of modern investing and must be integrated into a prudent investment process. Typical retirement savers with long investment horizons and broad ownership of the market are facing multiple systemic threats to their retirement income, including climate change and growing racial and economic inequality. Fiduciaries must be able to take these matters into account to protect the long term economic security of workers and retirees.”