Pennsylvania Taxpayers to Capitalize on Clean Technology

Pennsylvania Treasurer Robin L. Wiessmann recently invested $15 million in publicly traded funds that hold stocks of companies that provide solutions for environmental problems or operate in a responsible manner with respect to the environment.

In making these investments, Wiessmann initiated Treasury's Keystone Green Investment Strategy, which seeks superior returns for Commonwealth assets from clean technologies, such as innovative alternative or renewable energy sources and clean and green technologies that enable companies to reduce their emissions to the environment.

Wiessmann's action is the result of the recently developed Pennsylvania Investment Principles, which address the "next frontier of investing" by weighing the impact of geopolitical, environmental, governance, and other strategic factors on an investment's financial appropriateness. These factors allow Treasury's investment decisions to be accompanied by economic analysis of long-term considerations, including sustainability.

"Today's investments capitalize upon the advantages of the evolving clean, green technology sector to achieve prudent yet competitive returns for the Commonwealth," Wiessmann said. "As we continue to evaluate the impact of all strategic factors, we will be able to minimize risks and maximize nascent opportunities within the market."

A number of specific trends or factors demonstrate the potentially pervasive impact of environmental drivers:

• Global climate change, which will have profound impacts on many economic sectors including agriculture, shipping, insurance, and real estate.
• Volatility in price of carbon-based fuels, creating opportunities and risks to sectors reliant on such fuels.
• The likelihood of carbon regulation has substantial transformational impacts.

Treasury will examine especially closely investment opportunities in Pennsylvania firms that position themselves to benefit from valuable advantages of doing business in the Commonwealth, including the state's renewable energy portfolio requirements and the public funding support available for alternative energy efforts.

The Keystone Green Investment Strategy also includes a private investment program and a public equity investment screen.

Wiessmann is directly responsible for investing money belonging to nearly all state agencies. Her broad authority to place these funds in a wide range of investments, including equity securities and mutual funds, is subject to well-established standards that prudent persons would follow in the management of their own funds. As chief executive of the Pennsylvania Treasury Department, Wiessmann exercises exclusive or shared investment authority over more than $120 billion in public funds.

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