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CalPERS putting $500 million into green companies

November 10, 2010 |  1:24 pm

The country’s largest public pension fund is, like so many other investment bodies, going green. The California Public Employees Retirement System said Wednesday that it will pour $500 million into environmentally friendly companies.

The portfolio will focus on “top performers that have improved share value and also done good for the environment,” according to the $219-billion, Sacramento-based CalPERS. That includes companies working on fuel cell technology, solar panels, carbon trading, clean water efforts and more.

CalPERS will manage the investments internally, as opposed to an earlier plan in which external managers screened out companies they considered to be “environmental offenders.”

The new strategy will use the HSBC Holdings Global Climate Change Benchmark Index -– which includes 380 securities –- as a model.

Through its Environmental Technology program, CalPERS has also fed $1.5 billion into private equity firms focusing on clean-tech companies.

The fund administers retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million public employees and their families. On Tuesday, it announced that its return on investments jumped 13.3% for the year ending in June.

Read more at The Times’ Money & Company blog.

-- Tiffany Hsu

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