Sign-on Letter

Dear Friend/Fellow Organization:

A coalition of Minnesota pensioners, environmental groups, unions, youth organizations, financial
advisors, government organizations, and elected officials is working to generate public pressure on the
four voting members of the Minnesota State Board of Investment (MSBI – the Governor, Secretary of
State, Auditor and Attorney General) to take urgent action to divest our state pension fund from fossil
fuels.

We invite you and/or your organization to join us.

It is time to uncouple our investments from the increasingly outdated and irrelevant fossil fuel industry
and invest in a future for all of us. Fossil fuel companies threaten economic stability and ecological
systems and are a destabilizing factor in the world economy. The climate crisis has already taken
millions of lives and caused billions of dollars of damage around the world and will continue to wreak
havoc until we build an economy that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels. Boldly addressing climate change
includes actions that the state is already taking, such as clean car standards implemented by Governor
Walz and Attorney General Ellison’s lawsuit against Exxon Mobil. It also means no longer creating
new fossil fuel infrastructure (such as the Line 3 pipeline or the Superior Gas Plant) and removing our
financial backing from fossil fuel companies by divesting our pension funds.

Divesting from fossil fuels will improve the stability and resiliency of pension fund financial returns,
both in the long term and the short term. Fossil fuel investments are incredibly risky and increasingly
volatile. The fossil fuel sector continues to shrink. The S&P 500 Energy Index has under-performed the
market in recent years, translating to significant losses in Minnesota pension funds. The volatility of
these investments was illustrated dramatically when oil prices fell to negative levels in early 2020. As
of August 2020, the 5-year performance of the energy index was down 49% while the S&P 500 was up
53%.. There is little hope that the energy index will return to its former profitability. Had the MSBI
divested when we first called on them to do so, the pension fund would not have been exposed to these
losses.


The list of organizations and municipalities that have already divested is a long one, and only growing
longer. Elected officials on the Minnesota State Board of Investment have the fiduciary responsibility
to protect Minnesota pensioners’ retirement savings –and the only way to do that is to divest from risky
fossil fuel investments as quickly as possible. Risking the stability of Minnesotan retirees’ livelihoods
in order to defend a dying and deadly industry is at best negligent and irresponsible, and at worst
willfully destructive.

A recent resolution by the Minnesota State Board of Investment states “The MSBI Executive Director
will develop and implement plans for reporting on and addressing Environmental Social and
Governance ESG investment risks and evaluate options for reducing the MSBI’s investments to long-
term carbon risk exposure.” We call on the MSBI to act on this commitment by starting a process to
divest from all fossil fuels.

Please sign on to the following statement:


“Dear Governor Walz, Attorney General Ellison, Auditor Blaha, and Secretary of State Simon,

We the undersigned organizations, along with hundreds of individuals, support divesting Minnesota’s public pensions from fossil fuel industries. As climate crisis events like extreme weather and frequent wildfires have become the norm, reducing and ending our dependence on fossil fuels as soon as possible goes hand in hand with protecting the future of our retirees and our children. We commend you for your decision to divest from the coal industry and ask that you undertake a comprehensive divestment from the fossil fuel industries. It is time to invest in a future that sustainably benefits all of us, now and for future generations.

Fossil fuel stocks are volatile and consistently trending downward. Their share of the S&P has decreased from 29% in 1980 to less than 5% today. Furthermore, their performance has been inferior to non-fossil fuel funds. For example, over the last decade, Exxon Mobil has lagged in the S&P 500 by a wide margin (-4.56% compared to +223% for non-fossil fuel funds).

Minnesota’s State Board of Investment (MSBI) investors have relied on the industry-wide Prudent Person Standard to defend continued investment in fossil fuel companies. Given the state of the fossil fuel industry, the Prudent Person Standard would compel pension fund fiduciaries to divest from fossil fuels.

We support divestment in order to protect the financial value of our retirement funds as well as our common future in the face of catastrophic climate change. We call on the Minnesota State Board of Investment to start a process to divest from fossil fuels and to be fully divested from the Carbon Underground 200 fossil fuel companies by 2026.

Sincerely,

Sierra Club North Star Chapter
DFL Environmental Caucus
Honor the Earth
Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE)
MAPE Local 2101
Minneapolis Federation of Teachers
MN350
Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA)
Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light (MnIPL)
Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate (HPHC)
League of Women Voters of Minnesota (LWV Minnesota)
Minnesota Youth for Climate Justice (MNYCJ)

Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL)
Cooperative Energy Futures
Community Power MN
Centered Wealth
Fossil Free Macalester
Wilderness in the City
Vote-Climate
Mighty Earth – Twin Cities
Gichi Ka, LLC
Zimmer Environmental Improvement, LLC
University Lutheran Church of Hope
Walker Community UMC – Peace with Justice Committee
Walker United Methodist Church
World Without Genocide at Mitchell Hamline School of Law
St. Joan of Arc Environmental Justice Ministry