Environmental stewardship

​The Board of Pensions seeks, and implements, positive energy strategies. It is an active participant in efforts by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to combat climate change and move the world toward meeting the standards of the Paris climate accord. 

A portion of the Board's Balanced Investment Portfolio is allocated to companies dedicated to sustainable practices. And individual Presbyterians have the opportunity for sustainable investing through the Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (RSP).

Sustainable investing

In 2017, the Board began investing a portion of its Balanced Investment Portfolio with Impax in its Global Opportunities strategy. This fossil-free fund seeks companies positioned for long-term profitability based on the transition to sustainable practices. The Board has invested $115 million, the largest sustainability investment in PC(USA) history.

Also in 2017, the Board added the sister fund Pax Global Environmental Markets Fund Institutional Class (PGINX) to the RSP. So, individual Presbyterians can use their RSP accounts to combat climate change. [Pax Global joined the PC(USA) Socially Responsible U.S. Equity Fund and PC(USA) Socially Responsible Balanced Fund as a screened option in the RSP.]

Collaboration

The Board of Pensions convened a working group of representatives of all six General Assembly agencies in 2014 to assess and address the PC(USA) response to God's imperative to care for the Earth. The result was the Collaborative Agenda on Environmental Stewardship, unanimously adopted by the 222nd General Assembly (2016).

At the same time, the Board proposed an expansion of the Office of Faith-Based Investing and Corporate Engagement of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. The staff went from one to two professionals, with the second devoted to climate change issues. The Board contributes $180,000 annually to the expanded effort and the Presbyterian Foundation, $30,000.

Progress

Great strides came with expansion of the Office of Faith-Based Investing and Corporate Engagement. The committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investing (MRTI), an arm of the office, now tracks progress by individual companies on shrinking their carbon footprint. And MRTI is globally recognized as a lead agency in the investor coalition Climate Action 100+. The coalition's goal: Pressure the 100 top international carbon emitters into meeting the Paris standards by 2023. Because CA100+ is an association of active investors, those who choose divestment may not participate.