U.S. Democratic Congressmen Juan Vargas and Sean Casten announced the launch of the Congressional Sustainable Investment Caucus (CSIC), an initiative aimed at educating lawmakers on the benefits of sustainable investing, and bring together Congress members with finance experts and resources to help inform policymaking providing investor protection and market transparency.

According to a statement released by Vargas and Casten, the new caucus is being launched as ESG investing is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the U.S. and globally, with the value of assets engaged in sustainable investing already estimated at $41 trillion, and anticipated to increase to over $53 trillion by 2025, representing more than a third of global assets under management.

Vargas said:

“Sustainable investment has increased tremendously as investors in my district and across the country consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in their investment decisions. ESG impacts the health and vibrancy of our communities, workplaces, and ecosystem. As our economy continues to grow, we must work together with the SEC to ensure that investors, asset managers, and market advocates receive the disclosures needed to make profitable and ethical decisions in our capital markets.”

The initiative also comes as attacks on ESG investing by U.S. Republican politicians are growing. Last week, Attorneys General from 25 Republican-leaning U.S. states launched a lawsuit aimed at stopping the implementation of a new Department of Labor (DOL) law that would allow for the consideration of climate and ESG factors in ERISA plans, marking the latest move in an anti-ESG push that has  targeted large investorslaw firms, and proxy advisory firms.

Casten said:

“I’m excited to partner with Rep. Vargas to bring together Members of Congress and experts to progress past the distortion of facts and have robust, open-minded discussions about sustainable investing.”

Vargas said that the new caucus will hold events and discussions with investors, fund managers, companies and regulators, and support federal agencies to advance sustainable investing rules and regulations.

The caucus will be chaired by Vargas and Casten, and will also include Reps. Bill Foster, Raúl Grijalva, Brad Sherman and Emanuel Cleaver as members.

The Congress members noted the endorsement of several sustainable investing-focused organizations for the launch of the caucus, including the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF), U.S. Impact Investing Alliance, Ceres, American Sustainable Business Network, As You Sow, Impact Capital Managers, Inc., Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment, and Tobacco Free Portfolios.

US SIF CEO Lisa Woll, said:

“Today’s launch takes place in the midst of a highly politicized environment in which there have been uninformed critiques of the field by some state and national officials.  To be clear, sustainable investment is in the mainstream of finance because investors that don’t account for the environmental, social and governance practices and policies of the companies they invest in are not adequately assessing risk and missing an opportunity to both make better investments and to contribute to a more sustainable economy.”

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