Feb 14 -- The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is issuing this Request for Information (RFI), in furtherance of the Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk, to solicit public input on EBSA's future work relating to retirement savings and climate-related financial risk. EBSA's efforts will focus on agency actions that can be taken under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the Federal Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986 (FERSA), and any other relevant laws, to protect the life savings and pensions of U.S. workers and families from the threats of climate-related financial risk. Submit written comments on or before May 16, 2022.
On May 20, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14030 on Climate-Related Financial Risks (the Order). The Order outlined a whole-of-government approach to mitigating climate-related financial risk and to safeguarding the financial security of America's workers, families, and businesses from the threat that climate change poses to their life savings. Section 4 of the Order directed the Department of Labor (Department) to ensure the resilience of workers' life savings and pensions through a series of actions.
Pursuant to the Order, on October 14, 2021, the Department proposed a rule under ERISA to empower plan fiduciaries to safeguard the savings of America's workers by making it clear that fiduciaries may consider climate change and other ESG factors when they make investment decisions and when they exercise shareholder rights, including voting on shareholder resolutions and board nominations.
On October 15, 2021, the Administration released a comprehensive, government-wide strategy to measure, disclose, manage, and mitigate the systemic risks climate change poses to American families, businesses, and the economy in the form of a report entitled “A Roadmap to Build a Climate-Resilient Economy.” The report points out that climate change poses serious and systemic risks to the U.S. economy and financial system.
In a report issued on October 21, 2021, the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) identifies climate change as an emerging threat to U.S. financial stability. That report includes recommendations to U.S. financial regulators laying out actions to identify and address climate-related risks to the financial system and promote the resilience of the financial system to those risks.
This RFI is intended to further the goals of the Order and the Roadmap by assisting the Department in identifying steps that it can take under applicable law to further protect the life savings and pensions of U.S. workers and families from the threats of climate-related financial risk.
FR RFI: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-02798
Subject areas of questions: General, Data Collection Regarding ERISA-covered Plans, ERISA Fiduciary Issues, FERSA, Misc.