The Campaign for Divestment of Fossil Fuels from New Jersey State Pension Fund
350NJ-Rockland has been campaigning for fossil fuel divestment of the New Jersey State Pension Fund since early 2018. The best institutional investors around the world are declaring that “climate risk is investment risk” and divesting from fossil fuels as a result. New Jersey should follow in the footsteps of the New York Common Retirement Fund which in December, 2020 committed to reviewing and divesting from its riskiest fossil fuel investments and decarbonizing the entire fund by 2040. New York City is currently divesting $4 billion dollars of fossil fuel investments. And Rutgers University just committed this month to divestment, March 2021.
350NJ-Rockland spearheaded the introduction of the Fossil Fuel Divestment bill, in the last legislative session and the bill was reintroduced this session as A2196/S330. During the pandemic we turned our full attention (on Zoom) to getting support for the bill and we currently have 32 Assembly sponsors/cosponsors and 15 Senate sponsors/cosponsors which is approaching a majority of the Legislature.
There is a link on the 350NJ-R homepage to the DivestNJ.org website where you can check to see what legislative district you live in and whether your state representatives are already onboard. The website will help you get your district legislators’ email addresses and you can encourage them to support the bill or thank them for cosponsoring.
You can also contact Governor Murphy at https://www.nj.gov/governor/contact/all/
to urge him to support divestment instead of the shareholder engagement that the Department of Treasury is pursuing. Shareholder engagement can generally be a viable approach but the oil and gas industry has been notoriously dishonest and unwilling to engage. There is no time to waste on the run-arounds that fossil fuel companies give shareholders. Governor Murphy has acknowledged that the climate crisis is an existential threat to humanity and we should be divesting as soon as possible.
In addition to working on the Fossil Fuel Divestment bill legislatively we have been attending State Investment Council (SIC) meetings since 2018 and speaking out in the public comment period on fossil fuel divestment. The SIC oversees the State Pension Fund and works with the Division of Investment in making investments. 350NJ-Rockland believes that it is the fiduciary responsibility of the SIC and DoI to divest, both for financial and moral reasons.
We will continue to attend their meetings and press for a commitment and a plan to divest as soon as possible. If you are interested in attending their virtual bi-monthly meetings, go to the State Investment Council website and see their calendar of meetings. Public comment is the last item on the agenda. If you are interested in speaking out yourself on this issue in public comment, as a pension member, retiree or taxpayer, feel free to contact us at the emails below.
If an organization you work with or your union local would like to join our Coalition or you would like to help us with the campaign, please reach out.
Divest NJ – [email protected].
Tina Weishaus, Co-Chair – [email protected]
Barbara Pal, Co-Chair – [email protected]