Press Release: GBPHB Pension Fund Ranked 10th of 500 Global Asset Owners in Climate Change Risk Management

For Immediate Release
May 11, 2015

Contact: M. Colette Nies, Managing Director, Communications
(847) 866-4296 or

Glenview, IL—The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB)*, and its Wespath Investment Management division, was ranked tenth of 500 international investors in the latest index from the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP). The AODP is the world’s only independent examination of pension and superannuation funds’ management of climate risks and opportunities. It provides research and tools for asset owners and managers, supporting them in the transition to an investment world in which the impacts of climate change will become ever more integrated into their core decision-making processes.

Asset Owners Disclosure Project
According to the AODP, “Nearly 85% of the world’s largest investors have failed to implement climate-risk management systems. Institutional investors have much to do to mitigate and hedge climate change risk in their portfolios.” From a study of more than 1,000 of the world’s largest asset owners, representing more than $40 trillion, AODP found 85% were lagging in executing and implementing what they deemed to be effective climate-risk management systems.

The advocacy group studied asset owners’ climate change performance from factors such as transparency, risk management, levels of low-carbon investments and active ownership.

Only three U.S. pension funds were in the Top 10: CalPERS (California Public Employees Retirement System) ranked third; the New York State Common Retirement Fund ranked sixth; and GBPHB ranked tenth of the 500 completing the AODP survey of 1,000 asset owners. GBPHB moved up in the rankings from 35th overall in 2013 to tenth in 2014.

GBPHB Managing Director, Sustainable Investment Strategies, Kirsty Jenkinson was pleased with the survey results, noting, “We are in the ‘Top 10’ of a very important list that people around the world are paying attention to. It’s exciting to see that we are placed among peers considered to be the global leaders in sustainable investment, with an emphasis on the risks climate change poses for us all.” In 2015, GBPHB instituted a specific climate change (thermal coal) investment policy guideline:

The AODP survey background and rankings can be viewed at:


About the General Board
The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB) is a not-for-profit administrative agency of The United Methodist Church, with Church-authorized fiduciary responsibility for the benefit plans it administers and the assets it invests.

Prudent investment management decisions are an ongoing, long-term priority, supporting benefit plans for over 91,000 participants and approximately $21 billion in *assets managed on their behalf, and for many United Methodist-affiliated endowments, foundations and other institutions. This fiduciary obligation reflects the stated values of the Church and helps ensure financial, environmental and social sustainability across all investments.

GBPHB is the largest reporting faith-based pension fund and among the top 100 pension funds in the United States. As a sustainable investor, GBPHB is committed to active ownership through corporate and public policy engagement, proxy voting and the management of excessive sustainability risk. Through its Positive Social Purpose Lending program, GBPHB invests in affordable housing, community development and expanded loan opportunities for disadvantaged communities worldwide.

About the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP)
The Asset Owners Disclosure Project is an independent not-for-profit global organization based in the U.K. whose objective is to protect asset owners from the risks posed by climate change. It does this by working with pension funds, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds, foundations and universities to improve the level of disclosure and industry best practice.

AODP encourages investors to redress the huge imbalance in their investments between high- and low-carbon assets, while realigning the investment chain to adopt long-term investment practices.

Key elements of the initiative are:

  • Conducting an annual survey and assessment of the world’s 1,000 largest asset owners pertaining to their management of climate change risks and opportunities.
  • Publishing rankings of the world’s 1,000 largest asset owners to allow members, stakeholders and industry to see which funds are better than others at managing climate risk.
  • Providing and promoting climate change best practice to drive and improve climate change management and capability of asset owners.
  • Developing consumer-facing programs to educate asset owner members or stakeholders of the financial risks associated with climate change.
  • Researching trends in climate risk, member behavior and institutional investment.
  • Creating frameworks to encourage active ownership.


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