New York Appoints Its First-Ever ESG Director

Andrew Siwo will help advance the massive portfolio’s green agenda.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund has appointed Andrew Siwo to help lead its climate change-oriented ambitions as director of Sustainable Investments and Climate Solutions.

Siwo’s chief responsibility would be to support the implementation of New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for divestment from companies that fail to address minimum carbon-emissions standards that the fund will adhere to. Siwo will help the pension double the fund’s allocation from $10 billion to $20 billion over the next decade to its “Sustainable Investment-Climate Solutions Program.”

“Climate change is one of the most significant risks facing investors and the warnings are growing increasingly dire,” DiNapoli said. “This is a proactive plan to mitigate climate risk, capitalize on opportunities in the growing low carbon economy and protect the fund’s long-term value.”

Siwo has extensive experience in formulating ESG-friendly investment strategies, having previously headed the Mission-Related Investing team at Colonial Consulting, where he focused on ESG, SRI and impact investments. Prior to that, he curated an impact investing platform designed for institutional investors and fund managers at the Global Impact Investing Network.

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“Comptroller DiNapoli’s innovative Climate Action Plan puts New York’s pension fund at the forefront of the low carbon economy,” Siwo said. “I have spent much of my career sourcing, assessing, and managing sustainable investments and am looking forward to growing the Fund’s sustainable investments portfolio.”

New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio, along with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, recently issued a report imploring global cities to divest from fossil fuels. The report came as a toolkit with suggestions on how to go about divestment. Ideas included rallying public support, regulating pension funds’ asset allocations, and outlining the financial risks associated with investments in companies and operations that do not align well with a 2-degrees Celsius limit, like that of the Paris agreement.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund is one of the nation’s leading public pension plans with regards to climate-oriented investments. The Asset Owners Disclosure Project ranked the pension as the #1 in the US, and #3 globally, for its efforts to decarbonize their portfolio.

Related stories:

NYC and London Mayors Urge Global Cities to Divest from Fossil Fuels
One-Fifth of CalPERS Equity Portfolio Faces Climate Change Risk
European Firms Increasingly Pessimistic, Climate Investment Stagnates

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