The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) unanimously voted to lift a gag order prohibiting staff from engaging in activities related to climate change.

“As trustees, we have a fiduciary responsibility to the people of Wisconsin. Ignoring material risks such as climate change is reckless,” said BCPL Chair and State Treasurer, Sarah Godlewski. “Our investments can be impacted by erratic weather and natural disasters that can affect commodity prices and cause markets to tumble. Furthermore, a key component of our portfolio is timber, and pests can impact our harvest practices. We will not ignore such risks on our watch.”

The Board’s decision to overturn the order follows the precedent of the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, which has acknowledged the economic materiality of climate change.

“As fiduciaries, we will be assessing all financial risks. Climate change is a risk we need to monitor and evaluate to ensure the best returns for our public schools and Wisconsinites.”

In addition, the Board amended an energy efficiency policy and is now accepting applications from school districts looking to finance energy efficiency projects that are in accordance with state law.

Godlewski said, “Energy efficiency is an important initiative not only for our environment, but also for our bottom line. It lowers energy consumption and costs and provides a win-win for our districts.”

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