On November 19, the US House of Representatives voted 220 to 213 to pass the Build Back Better Act (HR 5376). The legislation addresses a broad range of social and environmental policies, most notably historic investments to address climate change and the first ever paid family leave benefit.
Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, made the following statement:
“The climate crisis is a defining issue of our time and requires action from government and the private sector. Addressing climate change—through shareowner engagement and portfolio construction– has been a priority of sustainable investors for decades. In 2020, climate change was the most important specific ESG issue considered by money managers in asset-weighted terms, according to the US Foundation’s 2020 Report on US Sustainable and Impact Investing Trends.
“The historic investments to address climate change in the Build Back Better legislation put the US on a more sustainable trajectory to reach its carbon reduction targets. Investors are looking for strong and clear signals from the government that there is a long-term to address climate change. This legislation accomplishes that.
“Additionally, the vote to create the nation’s first ever federal paid family leave program is an important step to building a more equitable and just society. The American worker should not have to rely on their employer’s benevolence for core protections like paid leave.
“The legislation also invests historic amounts of money in CDFI programs. Community development financial institutions play a critical role in creating a more inclusive economy by providing fair and transparent financing to communities that are often underserved by traditional financial institutions.”
US SIF’s policy recommendations to the Biden Administration are found in Toward a Just and Sustainable Economy and include provisions on addressing climate change, expanded funding for CDFIs and an increase in the minimum wage and paid sick leave. It also calls for establishing a White House Office on Sustainable Finance and Business. We look forward to legislation that will increase the minimum wage and provide paid sick leave.
Additionally, you may find US SIF’s recent letter to congressional leadership asking that a range of climate policy recommendations be included in the Build Back Better bill here.
We urge the Senate to act swiftly to pass the Build Back Better legislation.
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.
Learn more at ussif.org.