WASHINGTON, D.C. [5/20/21]—This afternoon, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) released the following statement in response to President Biden signing an executive order addressing climate-related financial risks. Among other things, the order directed the Department of Labor to review harmful limits imposed by the Trump Administration that prevented the consideration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors by workplace retirement plans.
“I’m pleased to see President Biden is taking bold action to address climate risk to the financial system. It’s critical that financial regulators and the federal budget take into account the risks of climate change. In addition, I’m especially glad that the President is directing the Department of Labor to review burdensome and unnecessary rules imposed last year that limit employers from offering the sustainable investing options that many workers are seeking in their retirement plans. Earlier today, I introduced legislation that complements the President’s actions. My bill is aimed at making sure workplace retirement plans are able to offer sustainable investment options to workers across the country,” said Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Banking Committee. “As I’ve said before, sustainable investment options are good for retirees and good for our environment—that’s a win-win. I’m glad President Biden understands that, and I’m pleased to be a partner in these efforts.”
Prior to President Biden’s announcement, Sens. Smith (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA 1) on Thursday introduced legislation in the Senate and House to provide legal certainty to workplace retirement plans that choose to consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in their investment decisions or offer ESG investment options.