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Stringer 2013 Sustainability Agenda

Stringer 2013 Sustainability Agenda

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Published by Scott Stringer
Stringer 2013: Leading the Way in Environmental Innovation and Management:
The Comptroller’s Role in Ensuring the City’s Sustainability
Stringer 2013: Leading the Way in Environmental Innovation and Management:
The Comptroller’s Role in Ensuring the City’s Sustainability

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Published by: Scott Stringer on Aug 23, 2013
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08/24/2013

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 Leading the Way in Environmental Innovation and Management:
The Comptroller’s Role in Ensuring the City’s Sustainability
 
Hurricane Sandy and other natural disasters have made it increasingly clear that failingto address climate change carries heavy economic costs. Making our world sustainableis not strictly a moral imperative: it is a financial and economic imperative, and wecannot divorce fiscal sustainability from our environmental future. Creating a moresustainable and resilient model of how cities like New York can function requiressteadfast and constructive leadership, as well as the full participation of all levels of government.Leading thinkers in government, asset management and sustainability have come toagree: Failing to consider potential environmental costs can have devastating fiscal andphysical costs. As we saw in Hurricane Sandy, which cost the City and State upwards of $30 billion in damages and lost economic activity, ignoring the potential forenvironmental harms is no longer a viable approach. In order for our economy to thrive,we must make environmental impact one of the central yardsticks by which we judgeour investments.The World Bank, the World Economic Forum
1
and other leading economic thinkers arefast developing metrics to allow us to integrate the value of social harms and benefits,as well as environmental costs, into our assessment
of an investment’s financial return.
No investment or undertaking that has high environmental costs is, in the long term,financially wise.
2
Sound financial management -- whether in assessing budget estimates,investments or the efficacy of City programs -- requires us to incorporate environmentalimpacts into our financial assessments. Doing so will render our financial projectionsmore reliable.
Launching the Office of Sustainability Management
To ensure that the City operates, invests and spends in environmentally sustainableways to save taxpayer money and improve government performance, Scott willestablish the
Office of Sustainability Management
in the Comptroller’s Office
. It willconsult on an interdisciplinary basis with our pension investments managers, auditors,
1
 
Accelerating the Transition towards Sustainable Investing: Strategic Options for Investors, Corporationsand Other Key Stakeholders. World Economic Forum.
2
Sustainable Investing in the Anthropocene: State of the Missouri Pension Funds, June 12, 2012. TheCapital Institute.
 
 
contract analysts, legal claims staff, budget and economic analysts, engineers, and allstakeholders who wish to participate. The Sustainability Office will assist the
Comptroller’s team in incorporating environmental management measur
es into all of their core functions. The office will promote sustainable policies and practicesthroughout the operations and planning of City government and hold governmentaccountable for addressing the environmental impacts and opportunities that affect thelong-term success of our city.Pension InvestmentsAs Manhattan Borough President, Scott has served as a Trustee to the New York CityEmployees Retirement System (NYCERS) for nearly 8 years. In this capacity, he has beena leader in promoting environmental sustainability in the investments of our pensions.As a NYCERS Trustee:
 
Scott led, in partnership with District Council 37, NYCERS to become one of thefirst U.S. pension funds to incorporate questions about environmental, social andgovernance (ESG) factors in requests for proposals (RFPs) to potential assetmanagers, requiring managers to report how they address environmentalimpacts and sustainability of their investments.
 
Scott was the first to propose that NYCERS adopt a comprehensive sustainabilitypolicy to include environmental and governance factors in how the fundevaluates and selects investment strategies and managers.
 
Scott supported shareholder initiatives to promote environmental sustainabilityin corporate practices, including requiring companies to prepare annualsustainability reports, disclose hydraulic fracturing and other environmental risksand report on steps taken to improve worker safety in the energy industry.A Comptroller, Scott will work collaboratively with fellow trustees to:
 
Develop a comprehensive policy addressing sustainability risk and opportunity inour process of deciding asset allocation, investment strategies and managerselection in ways that can help improve portfolio performance.
 
Work with fellow trustees to increase prudent investments in environmentallysustainable business opportunities that use energy efficiently, reduce pollutionand emissions and take advantage of the transition to a low carbon economy.
 
Continue to work actively with other pension funds and the national andinternational community of investors and experts to research critical economicimpacts of environmental harms and their mitigation and identify best practices
 
for investment policy that will help us meet our long-term obligations.
 
Work with other pension funds and institutional investors to actively engageportfolio companies on corporate governance reforms and shareholder activismthat help increase long-term value for our funds.Economic Development, Sustainability and Energy EfficiencyAs Manhattan Borough President, Scott has led on countless issues of urbansustainability through his Go Green Initiative and other innovative programs. His recordincludes:
 
Opening the East Harlem Asthma Center
a
 
$3.5 million, 9000-sq. ft. facility
located in a neighborhood that has the nation’s highest rate of childhood asthma
 
 
Partnering with community groups and non-profit organizations to bring newfarmers markets to underserved communities, including the first weekend andfirst nighttime farmers markets in Harlem 
 
Swapping over 10,000 incandescent bulbs forCompact Florescent Light Bulbs(CFL), saving working class people money on their energy bills while decreasingthe load on New York
s energy grid 
 
Launching the YouthBucks program, which has distributed $2 coupons topurchase locally grown foodto over 20,000 youth
 
Developing the East River Blueway Plan along with Assemblymember BrianKavanagh, which set a new standard for community-based planning in an era of climate change
 
Funding the construction of overhalf a dozen green roofs on schools andcovering 35,000 square feet of roofing on the Lower East Side with solar-panelsto save energy and money 
 
Planting thousands of treeson sidewalks and in public housing complexes in
Washington Heights, Inwood, and the Lower East Side to reduce Manhattan’s
urban
heat island” effect
 
 
Fighting to eliminate toxic Number 4 and 6 heating oil
from our City’s affordable
housing stock so that all New Yorkers can breathe easier

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