NM Financial Trustees Assess Social Responsibility ”Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – The custodians of New Mexico’s two multibillion-dollar financial trusts that fund public spending on education and infrastructure are wondering whether to give more weight to issues of social responsibility and sustainability in investment decisions.
The State Council for Investment led by Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday launched deliberations on its investment strategies and possible policy change to better address a host of environmental, societal and governance concerns , from climate change to issues of racial injustice.
The conversation takes place as giant asset manager BlackRock has put more emphasis on the risks and rewards of environmental, social and governance issues, sometimes challenging the direction of the company’s executives.
Members of the investment board, including state treasurer Tim Eichenberg and Catherine Allen, have indicated their support for greater consideration of social responsibility and sustainability issues.
“It’s appropriate risk management for us to take that into consideration,” Allen said.
Council member Leonard Lee Rawson of Las Cruces said he would prefer the Legislature to decide to explicitly integrate social responsibility into council investment considerations.
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He cautioned the council against activism on lightning rod issues such as climate change when assessing risks and investment opportunities.
Lujan Grisham and State Lands Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard, vice-chair of the council, were absent from the discussion on Tuesday. No formal action has been taken, with further discussion scheduled for a meeting in August.
The State Investment Council last year adopted a strategic plan for renewable energy that allows investments in solar and wind projects in New Mexico to offset other energy investments, including fossil fuel activities. The plan was promoted by a Democrat-sponsored State House memorial in 2020.