State treasurer plans local summit on sustainable investing
Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read is convening a Sustainable Investing Summit in Portland next month, bringing heavy hitters from some of the world's largest investment firms.
Featured guests include executives from Blackrock, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, KKR & Co., Calvert mutual fund company and others.
Gina McCarthy, the former EPA director, is one of the keynote speakers.
There's been a sea change in the field as more data demonstrates the financial benefits of investing in companies that are transparent and socially responsible, said James Sinks, Treasury Department spokesman.
Read, who oversees state investments made on behalf of the Oregon Public Employee Retirement System, has been supporting, and in some cases filing, shareholder resolutions at corporations' annual meetings, seeking more transparency and other corporate reforms, Sinks said. A coalition of shareholders that included Oregon achieved a breakthrough last year when Blackrock, the world's largest investment firm, supported one of those resolutions at Exxon's annual meeting.
"It changed the conversation overnight," Sinks said. "The world is different now."
Past Oregon treasurers, including Jim Hill, were stymied at advancing social goals for investments, because they were hard-pressed to prove those were the most prudent ways to invest other peoples' money.
But newer research is showing where such goals can mesh with best investment practices, Sinks said.
Read hired Anna Totdahl as a Treasury investment officer specializing in environmental, social and government factors. She will seek to integrate new data on the benefits of such investing into Oregon's public investments, Sinks said.
Speakers at the summit will highlight the business case for sustainable investment practices and case studies, including such innovations as Green Bonds, and how investments can be done to advance climate-related goals.
"Sustainable investing is the future, and the future can't wait," Read stated in a press release.
The event kicks off with a networking reception Wednesday evening, Sept. 5, at Widmer Brothers Pub, at 955 N. Russell St.. That will be followed by an-day session Thursday, Sept. 6 at the Leftbank Annex, 101 N. Weidler St.
For more information: www.oregon.gov/treasury/Pages/summit.aspx
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