The Biden administration is working to bring down the Trump Labor Department ruling that insisted financial probity override commitment to anti-fossil fuel (“sustainable”) investments.
In July, the Trump administration’s Labor Department secretary Eugene Scalia said retirement plans “are not vehicles for furthering social goals or policy objectives that are not in the financial interest of the plan.”
Rather, ERISA plans [pension plans operating under the Pension Reform Act of 1974] should be managed with unwavering focus on a single, very important social goal: providing for the retirement security of American workers.” (Read more here.)
But now, says Brian Anderson of 401kSpecialist, Biden is pushing Labor to avoid “climate-related financial risk.” His executive order on Climate-Related Financial Risk, signed May 20:
mandates that Labor Secretary Marty Walsh submit a report to the director of the National Economic Council and the White House national climate advisor within 180 days that identifies actions taken by the agency “to protect life savings and pensions of U.S. workers and families from climate-related financial risk,” and required the same of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which administers the Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees.
The order also states that the Labor Department should consider “a proposed rule to suspend, revise, or rescind” two Trump era rules that would carry out the requirement that financial responsibility override climate-risk concerns. (Those are “Financial Factors in Selecting Plan Investments,” 85 Fed. Reg. 72846 [November 13, 2020], and “Fiduciary Duties Regarding Proxy Voting and Shareholder Rights,” 85 Fed. Reg. 81658 [December 16, 2020]).
Furthermore, the 2020 press release favoring financial responsibility over “sustainability” has been modified with this statement:
Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.