The PRI, UNEP FI, and The Generation Foundation have today published an Ohio roadmap as part of the fiduciary duty in the 21st century project. 

The report puts forward recommendations for Ohio public entities to adopt responsible investment policies and to incorporate ESG factors into their investment decision making. The recommendations can also be used a guide for institutional investors, policymakers, and stakeholders outside of the state.

In October 2016, we published a US roadmap, which sets out recommendations in seven categories: investor education, corporate reporting, investment consultants, legal advice, stewardship and engagement, organisational process and disclosure, and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plan governance. The Ohio roadmap seeks to build upon the US roadmap by showcasing responsible investment efforts and best practices at the state level and by making additional recommendations.

Ohio is often viewed as a microcosm of the United States due to its diverse regions and bellwether political landscape. Like the rest of the country, responsible investment approaches are gaining traction in the state and prompting new conversations among investors, financial professionals, and students. While some in the state have been practicing some form of responsible investment for decades, many others are just starting their research on various ESG factors and different ESG integration techniques.

Information gleaned from conversations in Ohio, as well as research on state and federal policies on investments and governance issues, guided our analysis and report recommendations.

The recommendations in the Ohio roadmap include:

  • The Ohio State Treasurer and Treasurers of major metropolitan areas should publish responsible investment policies that include consideration of ESG factors.
  • Ohio public institutes of higher education, including the Ohio State University and Ohio University, should establish new, and support existing, ESG programs, including:
    • Creating responsible investment policies for endowments.
    • Establishing programs that embed ESG into investment education for the next generation of responsible investors.
  • Public pension funds, and corporate pension funds, should integrate ESG factors into their decision-making, including:
    • Establishing policies that integrate ESG into all fund options.
    • Signing the PRI, or making equivalent public commitments to responsible investment and stewardship principles (if have not already done so).
    • Ensuring trustees have a proper understanding of what ESG is and what it is not.
  • Mayors should join Climate Mayors and local entities should join We Are Still In. These coalitions aim to hold climate warming to well below 2℃, help transition to a clean energy economy, and protect investment portfolios from associated material risk.