Get Politics Out of Pensions: How Republicans are Weaponizing ESG Investing

Get Politics Out of Pensions: How Republicans are Weaponizing ESG Investing

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Thursday, Jul. 13 2:30 PM (Central)

Ends: Thursday, Jul. 13 3:30 PM (Central)

Room: Salon C-3/4

From Washington D.C. to state legislatures across the nation, there is a national campaign aimed at politicizing workers’ retirement accounts to protect fossil fuel profits. ALEC-affiliated bills that would ban business with firms following Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investment principles are now circulating the U.S. Republicans have branded this effort a fight against ‘woke capitalism’—when in reality, it is putting pensions at risk for the sake of protecting fossil fuel interests. Join us to learn more about this new threat—and how to stop it.


Frances Sawyer

Frances Sawyer is the founder of Pleiades Strategy, which works with mission-driven leaders striving to build an open, democratic, climate-safe future rooted in justice and equity. She has been a policy advisor for Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign, led strategic initiatives at NextGen Climate, was the Deputy Director of External Affairs for California Governor Jerry Brown, and Chief of Staff for a COVID technology company. She is currently working to counter the weaponization of state finances by right-wing politicians and fight anti-ESG policies in the states.


Sharon Hendricks

Sharon Hendricks is the Vice-Chair of the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS). She is also a member of the American Federation of Teachers, and a trustee on the CALPERS (California Public Employees Retirement System) Board and the labor representative to PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment). She has over a decade of experience in governance and has been a champion for ESG.

Renaye Manley

Renaye Manley brings strategy, innovation and advocacy to the world of finance and pension funds infusing a lens of racial and gender equity. She currently serves as Deputy Director of the Service Employees International Strategic Initiatives department. In this position, she works with pension trustees, investment professionals and union leaders around the engagement of multi-billion-dollar union and public pensions funds, including corporate governance and shareholder work

Caroline Spears

Caroline Spears

Caroline Spears is the founder and executive director of Climate Cabinet, the “Moneyball” of climate politics. Climate Cabinet helps state & local policymakers run, win, and legislate on climate change – stealing the Koch playbook for building political power and coordinating policy strategy locally, across states. Climate Cabinet’s team opposed anti-ESG bills in statehouses across the nation, protecting pensions and climate progress from harm.

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