The New York State Common Retirement Fund and Thermal Coal
An External Analysis of the Fund’s Thermal Coal Holdings
The following briefing has been prepared by InfluenceMap as part of its FinanceMap platform to generate and make public climate-focused metrics on listed funds and key portfolios. The Who Owns the Fossil Fuels report, released in December, 2018 analyzes the shareholdings of fossil fuel production companies by the world’s funds and asset managers. Special focus is placed on the ownership of thermal coal producers in the wake of the October 2018 IPCC Global Warming of 1.5C report’s comments on the need for urgent reductions in coal power. The methodologies used in the FinanceMap analysis are deployed here on one of the world’s largest and most prominent portfolios, the New York State Common Retirement Fund (henceforth “the Fund”), administered by The Office of the New York State Comptroller.
The Fund (with over $200 billion in AUM as of 03/2018), is among the largest in the United States and a major investor in domestic public US companies, with positions in over 3,000. The fund describes itself as having “robust corporate governance practices and sustainable business strategies”, and holds an extensive record of engagement with companies. The Fund also acknowledges that “climate change is one of the greatest threats to the Fund’s investments, the economy, and society as a whole,” and notes that it is a “global leader in the fight against climate change-related investment risks.”
This analysis considers equity holdings in companies engaged in thermal coal production, based on public disclosures from the Fund. The InfluenceMap analysis is not based on any threshold of revenue/activity. Rather, it considers all companies in a portfolio that are engaged in thermal coal production and sale and aggregates the thermal coal reserves held by these companies within an investment portfolio. Full details of methodology are at this FAQ landing page.
The Fund’s financial exposure to thermal coal is $38 mn based on valuations of the companies it holds which control thermal coal reserves as of 31/03/2018. The value of the thermal coal contained within the Fund’s holdings is computed according to the methodology noted here. It is noted that the fund will soon disclose its holding as of 03/2019. This briefing will be duly updated.
The Fund's thermal coal intensity (TCI) expressed in tons of thermal coal/$mn AUM was 127 as of 03/2018, compared to the benchmark of 376 for the world’s 60,000 largest listed funds at a comparable point in time.