US Bill to Codify ESG in Law for Retirement Plans  

Bernie Sanders, Dianne Feinstein and Elizabeth Warren are among a coalition of Democrat senators who have co-sponsored a new US bill that would give providers of workplace retirement plans legal certainty to consider ESG factors in their investment decisions or to offer ESG investment options to plan participants. The bill, tabled by Senator Tina Smith, is called the Freedom to Invest in a Sustainable Future Act and is designed to prevent a regularly changing legal environment for ESG factors. During the Trump Administration, the Department for Labor (DOL) introduced a rule that effectively prevented US retirement plans from considering ESG factors. In January, the DOL introduced a new rule that confirmed evaluating ESG factors in investment selection is consistent with fiduciary duty. But this rule is facing a legal challenge from 25 Republican attorneys general, and also from Senators, who plan to introduce legislation to block it. Senator Smith, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said: “I’m putting forth this legislation because we know there’s a growing demand for sustainable investing, and Congress should act now to provide the legal certainty necessary to make sure workplace retirement plans are able to offer these options to workers across the country.” 

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