WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced legislation today that would allow federal employees to make socially responsible investments (SRI) in their retirement plans. The Federal Employees Responsible Investment Act would direct the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board to select a “Corporate Responsibility Index” as an option for Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) contributions by federal employees – allowing them to direct their retirement investments toward socially responsible corporations, and away from ones with poor environmental and human rights practices.
The TSP is a retirement savings and investment plan for Federal employees and members of the uniformed services that offers similar benefits as 401(k) plans. Langevin has been a strong advocate for socially responsible investment, championing legislation in the House over the past five sessions of Congress.
“I strongly believe that federal workers should be able to invest in companies that demonstrate a commitment to sound environmental, social and governance practices,” said Langevin. “This legislation would allow federal employees to feel good about their investments, and would encourage companies to implement socially responsible and environmentally sustainable policies and practices. Investors are increasingly turning to socially responsible investment options because good corporate practices are often an indicator of good management, financial success and long-term stability.”
Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
“Across America, more and more people are calling on institutions to use their investments to send the message that they do not support big polluters, and that they care about issues like climate change,” said Whitehouse. “This legislation will allow millions of federal government employees and retirees to send that same message – to use the power of their individual purse to tell big polluters they can’t keep poisoning our air and water without consequences.”
The Corporate Responsibility Index would include a broad index of stocks of companies that maintain strong corporate governance, sustainable environmental policies and practices, solid workplace relations, positive community involvement, safe products and respect for human rights around the world. Original cosponsors for the House bill are Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Keith Ellison (D-MN) and David Cicilline (D-RI). Cosponsors for the Senate bill include Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI).