Press Release: Wespath Advocates for EPA Vehicle Emission and Fuel Standards
May 1, 2013
For Immediate Release
Contact: M. Colette Nies, Managing Director, Communications
(847) 866-4296 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Glenview, IL—Wespath Investment Management* participated in a public hearing held in Chicago on Monday, April 29, advocating for the Tier 3 fuel standard regulations being brought forward by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Wespath was the only investor to participate at the EPA hearing, representing both the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits and Ceres**. Among other participants were Chrysler Group LLC, Ford, GM, the Sierra Club, and the Environmental Defense Fund.
2017 Fuel Standards
The EPA is issuing a proposed rule designed to reduce air pollution from passenger cars and trucks. Starting in 2017, Tier 3 would set new vehicle emissions standards and lower the sulfur content of gasoline, considering the vehicle and its fuel as an integrated system. This is one of dozens, if not hundreds, of strategies necessary to address climate-related issues.
Wespath Shareholder Advocacy Objectives
Wespath’s objectives for engaging in shareholder advocacy focus on promoting sustainable business practices involving a number of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues. Wespath believes that sustainable policies are critical to achieving long-term investment growth. Because the proposed standards are expected to create jobs and meaningfully reduce air pollution, Wespath also believes the Tier 3 standards will help create and/or retain shareholder value while providing social and environmental benefits.
“We maintain that management of environmental, social, and corporate governance factors are important to the long-term success of the companies in which we invest,” said Ms. Anita Green, Wespath’s manager of Socially Responsible Investing and a speaker at the EPA hearing. She continued, “As a fiduciary, we support policies that promote long-term appreciation rather than short-term gain. As a church investor, we have never believed it was necessary to compromise our values to achieve our investment goals.”
Wespath Position on EPA Tier 3 Standards
Wespath has reviewed positions on both sides of Tier 3 and has considered the potential long-term financial implications to its investments, which is material to fulfilling its fiduciary role on behalf of pension plan participants and institutional investors. In the view of Wespath, Tier 3 standards will be beneficial to several sectors where it holds investments, including auto manufacturing, auto parts manufacturing, trucking companies, health care providers and health insurance companies. Wespath also invests in oil refining companies, which have expressed concern over the impact of Tier 3 on their operations. In this situation, Wespath believes the collective benefit outweighs the potential adverse short-term impact on the profitability of oil refining companies.
Wespath values that the EPA is addressing vehicles and fuels as an integrated system, which is the most cost effective way to realize meaningful reductions in pollutants such as ozone, particulate matter, and toxins, all of which have significant and costly public health impacts. By adopting the proposed Tier 3 standards, the following positive results can be achieved:
Health benefits that produce net economic gains; and
Sustaining the Unites States’ leadership position in vehicle and emission control technology.
The EPA’s regulatory announcement and the complete text of Ms. Anita Green's presentation are linked to this release.
Wespath is the investment management division of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of The United Methodist Church (in operation since 1908), recognized as the country’s largest faith-based benefit plan administrator and pension fund/investment asset manager.
With more than $19 billion in assets under management, it is among the top 100 pension fund managers in the U.S. based on assets under management. Wespath invests over $2 billion of the assets under management on behalf of institutional investors such as United Methodist Church annual conferences and foundations, and other Church-affiliated organizations. As a socially responsible investor, Wespath is actively involved in shareholder advocacy, proxy voting, portfolio screening and community investing.
Ceres is an organization which mobilizes a network of investors, companies and public interest groups to accelerate and expand the adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions to build a healthy global economy.