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CalPERS to invest $500 million in green portfolio

November 10, 2010 | 12:25 pm

Turbines CalPERS, the country’s largest public pension fund, is looking to turn over a new, green leaf by investing $500 million in environmentally friendly companies.

The new green portfolio will be managed in-house by the $219-billion California Public Employees'  Retirement System. The money will go into firms that work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, produce renewable energy, create clean water and waste options or support carbon trading efforts.

It’s a “more robust, quantitative strategy” that focuses on large-scale support of “positive change by top performers that have improved share value and also done good for the environment,” CalPERS board President Rob Feckner said in a statement.

Since 2006, the Sacramento-based pension system has invested $500 million through externally managed funds that explicitly avoid companies not considered eco-friendly.

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.


CalPERS reports improved earnings

Clean-tech investment booms to $1.5 billion in second quarter 2010

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Windmills in Maine. Wind power companies could soon see a piece of CalPERS' $500 million investment in the green market. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty /Associated Press