MADISON, Wis. – In response to Russia’s brutal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, Wisconsin State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski today called on the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) to immediately begin identifying any direct Russian holdings and make a plan to divest. Additionally, Godlewski announced that as Chair of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, she is pursuing a similar course of action regarding the fund she oversees. This call follows the U.S. and its allies placing necessary sanctions on the Russian economy that make investments in these assets dangerous.
“Over the past two weeks, the world has watched in horror as Russia invaded Ukraine unprovoked. The result has been the indiscriminate killing of thousands of innocent civilians and destruction of cities, towns, and infrastructure,” wrote State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski. “This devastating conflict may be thousands of miles away, but it’s on all of us to leverage every economic tool at our disposal to exert pressure on Russia to stop this naked aggression, bloodshed, and destruction. While we have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure Wisconsinites’ investments are wisely managed, we also have a moral obligation to act.”
On Tuesday, Ohio’s Attorney General called on the state’s public employee retirement funds to divest from Russian assets to further punish Russia for its aggression. California, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New York, are the latest states to announce similar divestment plans. The National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) announced last week its intention to explore opportunities to add pressure to the Russian government and reach a peaceful resolution as soon as possible. Wisconsin State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski serves on the executive committee of NAST and applauded the announcement.
Read the letter here.