MEDIA RELEASE: Time to re-engineer the UN Staff Pension Fund

Ethical Markets has long advocated the UN Pension Fund take the lead by
re-structuring its portfolio in line with its employees ‘ values !
I recall my meeting in 1998 at the UN H.Q. with John Ruggie and Georg Kell
, arranged for me by my friend Maurice Strong .I also invited my friend
Steve Viederman, the President of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation , a
leader in creating sustainable portfolios , to join me.
We asked first about the issue of restructuring the UN Pension Fund. We
were told that this was out of the question. We then asked if UNOPS
procurement policies could be updated to require companies contracting
with UNOPS to heed ESG standards . We were also told this was out of the
question. So this call by our Advisory Board member Dr. Matthew J.
Kiernan is one we heartily support !
Dr. Hazel Henderson , Editor

 

MEDIA RELEASE: Time to re-engineer the UN Staff Pension Fund

Time to re-engineer the UN Staff Pension Fund

On the dawn of the United Nations Climate Change Summit a report produced by
Inflection Point Capital Management recommends that the United Nations
Secretary General should establish an Expert Committee for Climate Change
and Responsible Investment that would provide advice to enable the United
Nations Joint Staff Pensions Fund to align its investment activities with
the United Nations own climate change mission.

CEO of Inflection Point Capital Management Dr Matthew Kiernan says “the UN
Climate Change Summit provides an opportunity for UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon to re-engineer the USD 51 billion UN Joint Staff Pension Fund so
that it not only meets the financial needs of the fund’s members but also
becomes a leader in mobilising climate finance. We believe this is a pivotal
opportunity not to be missed.”

The UN Climate Change Summit marks a change of tack from primarily focusing
on addressing climate change through negotiations among nation states, to
targeting direct actions that can build momentum. One such action actually
lies directly within the purview of the UN itself.

According to Dr Kiernan “what better time for the UN to focus on how it can
leverage the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund to provide leadership in addressing
climate change in a way that is consistent with its fiduciary duties? Of the
many tools and resources at the UN Secretary General’s disposal, a $51
billion pension fund is not to be sneezed at. And, since it represents the
combined retirement savings of the very same UN employees who have been and
are devoting their careers to environmental and social progress, it might
well be an extremely popular and morale-boosting move internally as well.”

Inflection Point Capital Management believes that a lot can be done to
re-engineer the UNJSPF. Across the globe there are numerous best practice
examples of pension funds that are investing in ways that are making a
positive contribution to addressing climate change. What is needed is a
mechanism to pull out the best practice that is occurring and provide the
JSPF with a pathway to becoming a global leader.

“Our suggestion is that the United Nations Secretary General should
establish an Expert Committee for Climate Change and Responsible Investment
that would provide him and the JPSF with advice on global best practice. The
Expert Committee for Climate Change and Responsible Investment would consist
of high level experts with pension fiduciary duty expertise and a deep
knowledge of sustainability, ESG best practice and long term investment.
There are no shortages of appropriately skilled practitioners who could be
appointed to such an Expert Committee.”

The Committee would act in a completely transparent manner. Its advice to
the Secretary General and JSPF would be publicly available. It would need to
be resourced by the United Nations to be effective, but it can be expected
that there are enough willing participants who would gladly give up their
time without remuneration so that the overall cost of the Committee’s
operations would be minimal, certainly when measured against the likely
benefits.

Dr Kiernan says “the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund can become a
global leader, and in so doing, provide leadership to other pension funds
all over the world. Indeed, the UN itself has already done precisely that by
launching the Principles for Responsible Investment, whose signatories
include many of the world’s largest and most respected pension funds.”