CalPERS’ Project to Measure ESG in Private Equity Has 100 Organizations, $8 Trillion Participating

Environmental, social, and governance investing is notoriously difficult to measure in a private equity context.

Three months ago, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) launched the ESG Data Convergence Project, an attempt to measure environmental, social, and governance (ESG) milestones within private equity. The pension has partnered with The Carlyle Group, the international private equity asset management group, on the project.

At yesterday’s CalPERS board meeting, Julia Jaskolska, associate investment manager of private equity at CalPERS, told the board that the project has now reached more than 100 organizations and $8 trillion assets under management (AUM). More updates regarding the project are expected to come in the upcoming months.

ESG has traditionally been difficult to measure in private equity since private equity companies are not beholden to the same levels of transparency as public companies.

CalPERS and The Carlyle Group are hoping to collect data and measure company performance on six different factors: greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, diversity of board members, work-related injuries, net new hires, and employee engagement.

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“We’re doing this work in order to support CalPERS’ fiduciary duty to generate sustainable risk-adjusted returns to pay benefits,” said Managing Investment Director Anne Simpson at the board meeting, in a reference to the pension fund’s efforts at increasing sustainability.

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