DOL Releases Statement on Non-Enforcement of Two Rules Pertaining to ESG and Proxy Voting in ERISA Plans

The DOL statement notes "important role that ESG integration can play in the evaluation and management of plan investments..." 
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 10, 2021 –Today, the US Department of Labor (DOL) issued a statement of non-enforcement of the rules on “Financial Factors in Selecting Plan Investments” and “Fiduciary Duties Regarding Proxy Voting and Shareholder Rights.” These two rules were completed in the final year of the previous administration.

The DOL news release noted that “we intend to conduct significantly more stakeholder outreach to determine how to craft rules that better recognize the important role that environmental, social and governance integration can play in the evaluation and management of plan investments, while continuing to uphold fundamental fiduciary obligations.”
Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment said:

“We welcome this statement of non-enforcement by the DOL on these two rules which were hastily finalized and ignored the large body of evidence that environmental, social and governance considerations and proxy voting are suitable for ERISA-governed retirement plans.

“We thank DOL staff for quickly reaching out to stakeholders to understand the impacts of the rules and look forward to continuing to engage with the DOL to ensure that further guidance and rulemaking clearly articulate the suitability of ESG considerations and proxy voting in retirement plans.  
About US SIF and the US SIF Foundation
US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is the leading voice advancing sustainable and impact investing across all asset classes. Its mission is to rapidly shift investment practices toward sustainability, focusing on long-term investment and the generation of positive social and environmental impacts. US SIF members include investment management and advisory firms, mutual fund companies, asset owners, research firms, financial planners and advisors, community investing organizations and nonprofit associations.
US SIF is supported in its work by the US SIF Foundation, a 501(C)(3) organization that undertakes educational and research activities to advance the mission of US SIF.

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