Calpers Urged to Divest Automakers That Relax Fuel Standards

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(Bloomberg) -- A group of congressional Democrats representing California urged the state’s pension system to divest from any car manufacturer that follows the Trump administration’s plan to relax emission standards.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System should take such action to demonstrate the importance of fuel efficiency standards and the groundbreaking role the state has played in this arena, a group led by Representative Mark DeSaulnier wrote in a letter to the organization Tuesday.

The Trump administration hopes to roll back fuel standards to those established before President Barack Obama came into office. The former president’s stance on fuel economy was inspired by California’s strict emissions requirements. DeSaulnier wrote Calpers earlier this month pushing for divestment. Tuesday’s letter added support from 10 additional California representatives.

“California has long been the leader on clean air, and it is incumbent on public retirement funds, like CalPERS, to uphold its stated values of social responsibility and sustainability and hold accountable any auto manufacturer that seeks to skirt public health for short term profits,” DeSaulnier said in an email to Bloomberg News.

Mike Osborn, a spokesman for Calpers, declined to comment on the letter.

Calpers, the largest U.S. pension fund with about $352.6 billion in assets, has become a leader in using its investing weight to push companies on environmental, social and governance issues. This year, the board has reviewed policies on sexual harassment and divesting from gun retailers, trying to balance pressure to be politically correct with its primary mandate: to make money for its public employee pensions.

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