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
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.
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,
Accelerating the Transition towards Sustainable Investing: Strategic Options for Investors, Corporationsand Other Key Stakeholders. World Economic Forum.
Sustainable Investing in the Anthropocene: State of the Missouri Pension Funds, June 12, 2012. TheCapital Institute.