Wednesday, 14 May 2008

US: CalPers: Global Principles revised

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) (the largest US pension fund) has revised its Global Principles of Accountable Corporate Governance. In a press release issued to explain the changes, CalPERS announced:

"The CalPERS Board today signaled the importance of environmental disclosure and diversity of corporate boards by expanding corporate governance guidelines for portfolio companies. The new guidelines will be added to the System’s Global Principles of Accountable Corporate Governance. These principles are used by CalPERS to vote proxies, engage management and boards of equity companies, and implement initiatives".

"The environmental guidelines are aimed at getting companies to disclose and act upon climate risks like carbon emissions that, if unaddressed, could diminish investment returns. The guidelines reference the 14-point "Corporate Governance Checklist" developed by Ceres, a coalition of investors, environmental groups and investment funds".

The revised Principles are available here. CalPERS has a corporate governance website: see here.

The role of public pension funds in corporate governance has recently been explored in Choi, S. and Fisch, J., "On Beyond CalPERS: Survey Evidence on the Developing Role of Public Pension Funds in Corporate Governance" (August 27, 2007), NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 07-30, available on SSRN here.

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