Raising the Bar

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The old adage stands firm:  actions speak louder than words.  The Treasurer’s Office uses a multifaceted approach to advance its sustainable investment strategy.  This includes direct engagement with corporate decision-makers, voting by proxy, weighing in on public policymaking, evaluating fund managers and portfolio companies by sustainability factors, working in coalition with other institutional investors, prioritizing diversity and inclusion, and various other measures.


The following table lists notable actions taken by the Treasurer’s Office.

 ActionInvolved PartiesESG Factor/IssueDate Initiated
US Securities and Exchange Commission Logo

Signed a letter to the SEC to express concerns regarding a reduction in investor participation in the corporate governance voting process

SEC Governance - Shareholder Rights October 2019
Opioid Coalition

Successfully encouraged governance changes at opioid manufacturers, distributors and retailers

Investors for Opioid Accountability Governance - Board Accountability September 2019
US Securities and Exchange Commission Logo

Expressed concerns to the SEC on changes to the shareholder proposal process and Rule 14a-8 rulemaking

SEC Governance - Shareholder Rights September 2019
Southern Company

Sent a letter to 47 companies to request information on how lobbying activities are consistant with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Illinois Treasury Climate Change September 2019

Urged the adoption of the Rooney Rule, and the addition of women and minorities to more than 24 boards through the Midwest Investors Diversity Initiative

Midwest Investors Diversity Initiative Governance - Board Diversity August 2019
Raising the Bar Logo

Published the Illinois State Treasurer's Office 2018 Annual Sustainability Report

Illinois Treasury Sustainability, Transparency July 2019
Raising the Bar Logo

Signed the Investor Statement Calling for Greater Corporate Workplace Disclosure

Illinois Treasury Human Capital Management, Transparency July 2019
Raising the Bar Logo

Called for enhanced income tax disclosures on a country-by-country basis

Illinois Treasury Transparency May 2019

Successfully engaged Parker Hannifin on Board Diversity

Parker Hannifin Board Diversity May 2019
Activision Blizzard

Successfully engaged Activision Blizzard to issue an annual sustainability report

Activision Blizzard Sustainability March 2019
US Securities and Exchange Commission Logo

Urged SEC to adopt standards requiring listed companies to disclose information on human capital management practices

Human Capital Management Coalition Human Capital Management, Transparency March 2019
Raising the Bar Logo

Signed the institutional investor statement regarding Decarbonization of Electrical Utilities

Illinois Treasury Climate Change February 2019
Intuitive Surgical logo

Successfully engaged Intuitive Surgical to issue an annual sustainability report

Intuitive Surgical Sustainability February 2019
Equinix Logo

Successfully engaged Equinix to adopt a policy enhancing board diversity

Equinix Board Diversity February 2019
Crown Castle Logo

Successfully engaged Crown Castle to publish sustainability disclosure by the end of 2019

Crown Castle Environmental - Sustainability January 2019
Host Hotels Logo

Successfully engaged Host Hotels & Resorts to include a section on Human Capital Management in the 2019 Corporate Responsibility Report

Host Hotels and Resorts Human Capital Management January 2019
O'Reilly Auto Parts Logo

Successfully engaged O'Reilly Auto Parts to issue an annual sustainability report

O'Reilly Auto Parts Environmental - Sustainability January 2019
Raising the Bar Logo

Supported principles to guide investor actions and manage risk on sexual harrassment and misconduct

Trustees United Social - Human Capital Management January 2019
EOG Resources Logo

Successfully engaged EOG Resources to adopt a policy enhancing board diversity

EOG Resources Board Diversity December 2018
Transdigm Logo

Successfully engaged Transdigm Group Inc. to adopt a policy enhancing board diversity

Transdigm Board Diversity November 2018
Raising the Bar Logo

Urged federal agencies to strengthen the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)

U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Social - Community Reinvestment November 2018
Raising the Bar Logo

Encouraged companies to disclose supplementary pay ratio information

S&P 500 Companies Transparency, Human Capital Management, Corporate Strategy November 2018
United Nations Climate Change

Signed the Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change

350 institutional investors Environmental - Climate Change November 2018
Raising the Bar Logo

Report Issued: How are U.S. Companies Spending Their Tax Savings? Results from a Survey of S&P 100 Companies

S&P 100 Companies Transparency, Human Capital Management, Corporate Strategy October 2018

Urged federal agencies to protect strong carbon and vehicle emission standards

U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration & Environmental Protection Agency Environmental - Climate Change October 2018


The Treasurer’s Office gains immense value working in partnership with coalitions, corporate governance experts, and other investors. Partnerships help us pursue learning opportunities, advance leading investment practices, and ultimately be better fiduciaries seeking to protect assets and maximize returns. That’s why we are active members of several major investor networks, including those featured below, which are made up of leading asset management firms, public pension funds, labor funds, foundations, endowments, family offices, and other state treasurers.



We believe more is accomplished when you take a proactive, multifaceted, networked approach toward addressing environmental, social capital, human capital, business model and innovation, and leadership and governance issues.  That’s why in addition to company-specific engagements and campaigns, the Treasurer’s Office participates in advocacy organizations and promotes sustainability across its areas of influence.


  • Creating More Opportunities for Minorities, Women, Veterans, and Disabled-Owned (“MWVD”) Businesses – Inclusion is a key pillar of the Treasurer's approach to investing.  Research demonstrates that MWVD-owned companies are often well-situated to ascertain capital inefficiencies in the market, and as such, many are primed to outperform their peers.  Treasurer Frerichs and his team have transformed the culture, policies, and operations of the Treasury to enhance opportunities available to MWVD individuals and business partners.  Since Treasurer Frerichs came into office, the Treasury has increased utilization of MWVD broker/dealers from 1% to 63%.  Put another way, in FY 2014, total assets brokered with MWVD firms was $603 million.  In FY 2017, total assets brokered with MWVD firms was $24 billion.  That represents a 40-fold increase.  
  • Assets Brokered by MWVD Firms
  • Advocating for Corporate Board Diversity – The Treasurer’s Office believes that corporate board diversity is a critical dimension of effective board composition and performance.  Diversity means including women, racial minorities and the LGBT community in the pool for board candidate selection.  As such, the Treasurer’s Office is taking a proactive approach to stop the status quo and help ensure board diversity is a corporate governance priority.  The Treasurer's Office is a member of the Midwest Investors' Diversity Initiative, a coalition of investors using their corporate relationships and shareholder rights to encourage boardroom change.  Treasurer Frerichs also joined other state and local leaders in urging corporate board diversity by signing a Joint Statement on Corporate Board Diversity in June 2016.
  • Advocating for Gender Diversity on Corporate Boards – The Treasurer's Office is a proud member of the Thirty Percent Coalition.  This groundbreaking organization is committed to the goal of women, including women of color, holding more boardroom seats across public companies. Doing so leads to a greater return on the money we invest on behalf of the State of Illinois. Studies show that companies with gender diverse boards are 15 percent more likely to outperform the median in their industry.
  • Increasing Inclusion in the Financial Services Industry – The Treasurer’s Office is a proud member of the Financial Services Pipeline Initiative, adding its voice and resources to a coalition of prominent financial institutions with a mission to (1) increase the representation of Latinos and African Americans, at all levels, within the Chicago area financial services industry, and (2) improve the overall cultural competency within the Chicago area financial services industry.  The Treasurer’s Office actively participates on the CEO Leadership Council and the Steering Committee to devise core strategies and develop action plans.
  • Collaborating with the Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project – The Treasurer’s Office is a steadfast supporter of the numerous efforts led by the Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project.  The Wall Street Project is dedicated to ending the multi-billion dollar trade deficit with minority vendors and consumers by working to ensure equal opportunity for diverse employees, entrepreneurs, and consumers.


  • Enforcing Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Standards – The Treasurer’s Office wants to encourage an open and effective banking system that grows local communities and boosts Illinois’ economy.  By law, the Treasurer’s Office is authorized to consider a financial institution’s record and current level of financial commitment to its local community when deciding whether to deposit State funds in that financial institution.  Under Treasurer Frerichs, depository institutions are ineligible to do business with the Treasurer’s Office if they have a CRA rating below “satisfactory.”  To learn more about CRA priorities, please visit our Community Reinvestment Act page
  • Utilizing Top-Rated Banking Debt Issuers – In line with the Treasurer's commitment to community development and accountability, all approved banking debt issuers that do business with the Treasurer’s Office maintain a Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rating of "outstanding" or "satisfactory" (as of June 2016).


  • Investing in Green Bonds – Investing in environmental-impact bonds not only results in positive societal impacts, it provides a strong investment return for the State of Illinois.  That's why the Treasurer's Office has invested $70 million in green bonds, proceeds which are used to fund investments in the productive use of renewable energy, sustainable forestry, energy efficiency, energy optimization, and the production of clean energy sources.
  • Inclusion and Green Technology Goals under ILGIF – As a part of the Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund (ILGIF), the Treasurer’s Office seeks to support fund managers that have demonstrated experience and/or an express ability to invest in green technology businesses located in Illinois.  To learn more about ILGIF, please visit our Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund page.
  • Calvert Equity Portfolio – Individuals and families using the Treasurer’s Bright Directions College Savings Program have the opportunity to invest in a mutual fund, Calvert Equity Portfolio, that is specially tailored to recognize sustainability factors.  Portfolio companies in this fund are judged by their sustainability performance.  And not only does this help promote responsible sustainability best practices, but this assessment helps inform risk and opportunity factors tied to enterprise value and investment performance.