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Breaking News from ReImagine Appalachia's Sustainable Finance Policy Summit

Yesterday, Congressman Andy Levin proposed a long-needed sustainable investment policy for America!  Having led the opposition in the US House of Representatives to the US DOL’s proposed rule to obstruct ESG/ETI investments, Congressman Levin spoke forcibly to a convening in industrial and rural Appalachia, about the need for America’s pension funds to take into account workers wages, benefits, and protections; workers’ and human rights; and the fierce urgency of climate change. The Sustainable Investment Policy Act will require retirement investors and fiduciaries to consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into account when making investments.

Congressman Levin was the Keynote Speaker at the Sustainable Finance Hub Convening, organized by the Heartland Network and friends, an unprecedented summit of political, labor, business, economic policy and sustainability stakeholders in industrial and rural Appalachia. Five mayors in the Ohio Valley region described their commitment to an historic collaboration. So far, eight mayors have endorsed The “Marshall Plan for Middle America” which is focused on economy recovery, renewal, and resilience for the region. They will be soon be joined by dozens of other mayors in the region.

The summit was highlighted by industrial and utility-scale, labor-engaged clean economy projects in the region. It was sponsored by the Heinz Endowments, the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, the Reimagine Appalachia Campaign, and the Center for Sustainable Business at the University of Pittsburgh, and attracted over 160 participants from the region, nationally, and internationally. 

Congressman Levin requested Heartland’s assistance in 2019 in crafting a national plan to move the US toward responsible investment. We pulled together a brain trust that included Tyler Gellasch, Fellow, Global Financial Markets Center at Duke University School of Law (and a member of the SVA Board) and several others. Tyler led the drafting process, and Heartland Governing Board members also assisted.

The Network has built a national “Community of Practice” to rebuild our cities, renew the industrial commons, and grow the clean economy. Heartland has set a unique “table” that includes pension leaders, investment consultants, asset managers, capital stewards, mayors and treasurers, labor and business leaders, academic and policy advocates.

The Expresso is thrilled to help spread the news about this new initiative, which will which will inform and transform the control workers have over their investments. We look forward to working with the Congressman and his co-sponsors to create a groundswell of support for this Act.


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