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Higher Education Endowments and the Climate Crisis

  By: Anthony D. Cortese, Sc.D., Co-founder of Second Nature, and Co-Founder and Senior Fellow of The Intentional Endowments Network   Humanity is at a crossroads without historical precedent. Current economic, social, and environmental trends are not sustainable.  Challenges related to climate change, water, food, economic inequality, poverty, and social unrest pose an existential threat to society. Witness the October UN Report on Climate Change and the National Climate Assessment released last month.  We need a transformative shift in the way we think and act individually and collectively and higher education must lead the way in our role to provide the knowledge and the educated citizenry for a thriving civil society for the long term. Society looks to higher education to identify solutions...

Read More


The Power & Impact Of Community Investing

“Decent affordable housing should be a basic right for everybody in this country. The reason is simple: without basic shelter, everything falls apart,” Matthew Desmond wrote in his book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Many endowments and experts focused on Community Investing would agree. While affordable housing serves as one aspect of Community Investing, such investment programs tend to catalyze local innovation and stimulate the economy by way of job creation and education. Further, for some investors, Community Investing tends to hit the bottom line twice: invigorating local economies while boosting returns. The Intentional Endowments Network (IEN) approached specialists within the Community Investing space to get their perspectives on the value of Community Investing, understanding how to...

Read More


Tony Cortese Named as AASHE Lifetime Achievement Award Wi...

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has named Dr. Tony Cortese as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing his outstanding achievements and progress toward sustainability.  With over 3 decades of leadership, Dr. Cortese played an essential role in the formation of many of the key organizations and frameworks in the higher education sustainability space - including the Talloires Declaration, Second Nature, AASHE, the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, and the Intentional Endowments Network - that have guided the evolution of the movement for sustainability by and in higher education. “The 2018 award winners demonstrate an inspiring passion for solving some of the world’s most complex challenges. They are truly pioneering the...

Read More


Two Recent Legal Decisions in Delaware Have the Potential...

In mid-July, the Delaware Senate passed a bill which, among other things, amends the code related to decedents' estates, fiduciary relations and property with a new provision that states that when making an investment decision a fiduciary may take into account the needs of the beneficiaries "as well as the beneficiaries’ personal values, including the beneficiaries’ desire to engage in sustainable investing strategies that align with the beneficiaries’ social, environmental, governance or other values or beliefs of the beneficiaries." Additionally, the Delaware Certification of Adoption of Transparency and Sustainability Standards Act was signed by the Governor at the end of June and will become effective October 1, 2018. This piece from Harvard Law School describes the act that makes it possible for companies...

Read More


Perspectives on Exxon Mobil Exiting Lobbying Group ALEC

Written By: Tim Smith, Walden Asset Management To Colleagues  involved in Shareholder Advocacy on Exxon and Alec  And Lobbying:Some of you may have seen the news released yesterday that ExxonMobil had decided to withdraw from ALEC.  I enclose three stories below capturing the key points. There are many investors who have chosen to avoid ownership of energy or oil company stocks like Exxon. Others have chosen to use their shares to put pressure on companies on climate change. All of us are deeply concerned about the power of fossil fuel companies on public policy. One of the focus points is how companies lobby directly or through trade associations on climate-related legislation. There have been ten years of lobbying disclosure resolutions including...

Read More


Gender Lens Investing Landscape: Barriers & Opportunities

Nearly four decades before they were even allowed to vote, women in the U.S. were placing their bets within the financial markets. In 1880 Mary Gage opened the first stock exchange in Manhattan for women – prior to this, women depended on men to invest in public equities on their behalf. Fast forward to the 21st century, the financial markets and companies more broadly only recently started to realize the value of female representation. The gender lens discussion was further fueled by the United Nations in late 2015, when it listed gender equality among its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Nevertheless, some market practitioners have long understood the importance of gender lens investing, and in particular, its impact to the bottom line....

Read More


What We're Reading: Barron's Special Report on Sustainabl...

This week, Barron's released a Special Report on Sustainable Investing containing 8 articles on topics ranging from how to get started in sustainable investing, the 20 most influential people in ESG investing, and a cover story on BlackRock's work in the space, highlighting CEO Larry Fink's 2018 annual letter to companies emphasizing 'positive contribution[s] to society.' “Short-termism has been captured by the tick-tock of reporting, that’s why I’m trying to create a louder dialogue about long-termism, or the idea that a long-term Warren Buffett-like process will lead to greater sustainable returns,” Fink reports in the article. “ESG risks are going to be a formidable component of investing over a sustained period of time. We want ESG risk management to be a...

Read More


The Crane Institute of Sustainability - Home of the Inten...

We are pleased to announce that the Intentional Endowments Network (IEN) has broadened its executive team with the addition of two new members to the Board of Directors of The Crane Institute of Sustainability (Crane), IEN's organizational home. Both Sandra Urie, chairman emeritus of investment advisory firm Cambridge Associates, LLC, and Anthony Rust, chairman of the investment committee at the Warren Wilson College, joined Crane’s Board in June. Collectively they bring nearly six decades of investment management experience and deep experience working with endowments on sustainability, impact, and mission-related investing. “We are delighted that Sandy and Anthony have joined the Board” said Georges Dyer, co-founder and executive director of Crane and IEN. “Both bring extensive expertise and first-hand experience in helping endowments...

Read More


IEN’s Community Impact Investing Roundtable

Community impact investing can be a powerful tool to redirect capital into our own backyard. Reinvesting in our communities can generate many benefits especially for anchor institutions such as foundations and endowments, including the creation of prosperous and thriving neighborhoods in which they work and the development of relationships with local communities. IEN’s half-day roundtable on Community Impact Investing on June 11, 2018 at the Boston Foundation convened more than 70 endowment and foundation decision-makers along with other stakeholders interested in working closer with their local communities. The interactive structure of the roundtable allowed participants to learn not only from distinguished panelists but also from others in the room with years of experience in this field.   Program Agenda | Event...

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Perspectives on DOL Field Assitance Bulletin

By: Keith L. Johnson, Heads of Institutional Investor Legal Services, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c., Member of the IEN Executive Committee, and Chair of the IEN Fiduciary Duty & Policy Working Group April 27, 2018 Investor fiduciaries should be careful not to overreact to Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Field Assistance Bulletin 2018-01 on the exercise of shareholder rights and consideration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors, which was issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) on April 23, 2018.[1] Some are reading it as backtracking on assurance about consideration of material ESG factors and related company engagement practices contained in interpretive bulletins that were issued in 2015 and 2016.   Tone of the Bulletin is definitely harsher....

Read More


Perspectives on DOL Field Assitance Bulletin

By: Keith L. Johnson, Heads of Institutional Investor Legal Services, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c., Member of the IEN Executive Committee, and Chair of the IEN Fiduciary Duty & Policy Working Group April 27, 2018 Investor fiduciaries should be careful not to overreact to Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Field Assistance Bulletin 2018-01 on the exercise of shareholder rights and consideration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors, which was issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) on April 23, 2018.[1] Some are reading it as backtracking on assurance about consideration of material ESG factors and related company engagement practices contained in interpretive bulletins that were issued in 2015 and 2016.   Tone of the Bulletin is definitely harsher....

Read More


IEN’s Community Impact Investing Roundtable

Community impact investing can be a powerful tool to redirect capital into our own backyard. Reinvesting in our communities can generate many benefits especially for anchor institutions such as foundations and endowments, including the creation of prosperous and thriving neighborhoods in which they work and the development of relationships with local communities. IEN’s half-day roundtable on Community Impact Investing on June 11, 2018 at the Boston Foundation convened more than 70 endowment and foundation decision-makers along with other stakeholders interested in working closer with their local communities. The interactive structure of the roundtable allowed participants to learn not only from distinguished panelists but also from others in the room with years of experience in this field.   Program Agenda | Event...

Read More


The Crane Institute of Sustainability - Home of the Inten...

We are pleased to announce that the Intentional Endowments Network (IEN) has broadened its executive team with the addition of two new members to the Board of Directors of The Crane Institute of Sustainability (Crane), IEN's organizational home. Both Sandra Urie, chairman emeritus of investment advisory firm Cambridge Associates, LLC, and Anthony Rust, chairman of the investment committee at the Warren Wilson College, joined Crane’s Board in June. Collectively they bring nearly six decades of investment management experience and deep experience working with endowments on sustainability, impact, and mission-related investing. “We are delighted that Sandy and Anthony have joined the Board” said Georges Dyer, co-founder and executive director of Crane and IEN. “Both bring extensive expertise and first-hand experience in helping endowments...

Read More


What We're Reading: Barron's Special Report on Sustainabl...

This week, Barron's released a Special Report on Sustainable Investing containing 8 articles on topics ranging from how to get started in sustainable investing, the 20 most influential people in ESG investing, and a cover story on BlackRock's work in the space, highlighting CEO Larry Fink's 2018 annual letter to companies emphasizing 'positive contribution[s] to society.' “Short-termism has been captured by the tick-tock of reporting, that’s why I’m trying to create a louder dialogue about long-termism, or the idea that a long-term Warren Buffett-like process will lead to greater sustainable returns,” Fink reports in the article. “ESG risks are going to be a formidable component of investing over a sustained period of time. We want ESG risk management to be a...

Read More


Gender Lens Investing Landscape: Barriers & Opportunities

Nearly four decades before they were even allowed to vote, women in the U.S. were placing their bets within the financial markets. In 1880 Mary Gage opened the first stock exchange in Manhattan for women – prior to this, women depended on men to invest in public equities on their behalf. Fast forward to the 21st century, the financial markets and companies more broadly only recently started to realize the value of female representation. The gender lens discussion was further fueled by the United Nations in late 2015, when it listed gender equality among its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Nevertheless, some market practitioners have long understood the importance of gender lens investing, and in particular, its impact to the bottom line....

Read More


Perspectives on Exxon Mobil Exiting Lobbying Group ALEC

Written By: Tim Smith, Walden Asset Management To Colleagues  involved in Shareholder Advocacy on Exxon and Alec  And Lobbying:Some of you may have seen the news released yesterday that ExxonMobil had decided to withdraw from ALEC.  I enclose three stories below capturing the key points. There are many investors who have chosen to avoid ownership of energy or oil company stocks like Exxon. Others have chosen to use their shares to put pressure on companies on climate change. All of us are deeply concerned about the power of fossil fuel companies on public policy. One of the focus points is how companies lobby directly or through trade associations on climate-related legislation. There have been ten years of lobbying disclosure resolutions including...

Read More


Two Recent Legal Decisions in Delaware Have the Potential...

In mid-July, the Delaware Senate passed a bill which, among other things, amends the code related to decedents' estates, fiduciary relations and property with a new provision that states that when making an investment decision a fiduciary may take into account the needs of the beneficiaries "as well as the beneficiaries’ personal values, including the beneficiaries’ desire to engage in sustainable investing strategies that align with the beneficiaries’ social, environmental, governance or other values or beliefs of the beneficiaries." Additionally, the Delaware Certification of Adoption of Transparency and Sustainability Standards Act was signed by the Governor at the end of June and will become effective October 1, 2018. This piece from Harvard Law School describes the act that makes it possible for companies...

Read More


Tony Cortese Named as AASHE Lifetime Achievement Award Wi...

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has named Dr. Tony Cortese as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing his outstanding achievements and progress toward sustainability.  With over 3 decades of leadership, Dr. Cortese played an essential role in the formation of many of the key organizations and frameworks in the higher education sustainability space - including the Talloires Declaration, Second Nature, AASHE, the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, and the Intentional Endowments Network - that have guided the evolution of the movement for sustainability by and in higher education. “The 2018 award winners demonstrate an inspiring passion for solving some of the world’s most complex challenges. They are truly pioneering the...

Read More


The Power & Impact Of Community Investing

“Decent affordable housing should be a basic right for everybody in this country. The reason is simple: without basic shelter, everything falls apart,” Matthew Desmond wrote in his book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Many endowments and experts focused on Community Investing would agree. While affordable housing serves as one aspect of Community Investing, such investment programs tend to catalyze local innovation and stimulate the economy by way of job creation and education. Further, for some investors, Community Investing tends to hit the bottom line twice: invigorating local economies while boosting returns. The Intentional Endowments Network (IEN) approached specialists within the Community Investing space to get their perspectives on the value of Community Investing, understanding how to...

Read More


Higher Education Endowments and the Climate Crisis

  By: Anthony D. Cortese, Sc.D., Co-founder of Second Nature, and Co-Founder and Senior Fellow of The Intentional Endowments Network   Humanity is at a crossroads without historical precedent. Current economic, social, and environmental trends are not sustainable.  Challenges related to climate change, water, food, economic inequality, poverty, and social unrest pose an existential threat to society. Witness the October UN Report on Climate Change and the National Climate Assessment released last month.  We need a transformative shift in the way we think and act individually and collectively and higher education must lead the way in our role to provide the knowledge and the educated citizenry for a thriving civil society for the long term. Society looks to higher education to identify solutions...

Read More


Gender Lens Investing Landscape: Barriers & Opportunities

Nearly four decades before they were even allowed to vote, women in the U.S. were placing their bets within the financial markets. In 1880 Mary Gage opened the first stock exchange in Manhattan for women – prior to this, women depended on men to invest in public equities on their behalf. Fast forward to the 21st century, the financial markets and companies more broadly only recently started to realize the value of female representation. The gender lens discussion was further fueled by the United Nations in late 2015, when it listed gender equality among its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Nevertheless, some market practitioners have long understood the importance of gender lens investing, and in particular, its impact to the bottom line....

Read More


Higher Education Endowments and the Climate Crisis

  By: Anthony D. Cortese, Sc.D., Co-founder of Second Nature, and Co-Founder and Senior Fellow of The Intentional Endowments Network   Humanity is at a crossroads without historical precedent. Current economic, social, and environmental trends are not sustainable.  Challenges related to climate change, water, food, economic inequality, poverty, and social unrest pose an existential threat to society. Witness the October UN Report on Climate Change and the National Climate Assessment released last month.  We need a transformative shift in the way we think and act individually and collectively and higher education must lead the way in our role to provide the knowledge and the educated citizenry for a thriving civil society for the long term. Society looks to higher education to identify solutions...

Read More


IEN’s Community Impact Investing Roundtable

Community impact investing can be a powerful tool to redirect capital into our own backyard. Reinvesting in our communities can generate many benefits especially for anchor institutions such as foundations and endowments, including the creation of prosperous and thriving neighborhoods in which they work and the development of relationships with local communities. IEN’s half-day roundtable on Community Impact Investing on June 11, 2018 at the Boston Foundation convened more than 70 endowment and foundation decision-makers along with other stakeholders interested in working closer with their local communities. The interactive structure of the roundtable allowed participants to learn not only from distinguished panelists but also from others in the room with years of experience in this field.   Program Agenda | Event...

Read More


Perspectives on DOL Field Assitance Bulletin

By: Keith L. Johnson, Heads of Institutional Investor Legal Services, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c., Member of the IEN Executive Committee, and Chair of the IEN Fiduciary Duty & Policy Working Group April 27, 2018 Investor fiduciaries should be careful not to overreact to Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Field Assistance Bulletin 2018-01 on the exercise of shareholder rights and consideration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors, which was issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) on April 23, 2018.[1] Some are reading it as backtracking on assurance about consideration of material ESG factors and related company engagement practices contained in interpretive bulletins that were issued in 2015 and 2016.   Tone of the Bulletin is definitely harsher....

Read More


Perspectives on Exxon Mobil Exiting Lobbying Group ALEC

Written By: Tim Smith, Walden Asset Management To Colleagues  involved in Shareholder Advocacy on Exxon and Alec  And Lobbying:Some of you may have seen the news released yesterday that ExxonMobil had decided to withdraw from ALEC.  I enclose three stories below capturing the key points. There are many investors who have chosen to avoid ownership of energy or oil company stocks like Exxon. Others have chosen to use their shares to put pressure on companies on climate change. All of us are deeply concerned about the power of fossil fuel companies on public policy. One of the focus points is how companies lobby directly or through trade associations on climate-related legislation. There have been ten years of lobbying disclosure resolutions including...

Read More


The Crane Institute of Sustainability - Home of the Inten...

We are pleased to announce that the Intentional Endowments Network (IEN) has broadened its executive team with the addition of two new members to the Board of Directors of The Crane Institute of Sustainability (Crane), IEN's organizational home. Both Sandra Urie, chairman emeritus of investment advisory firm Cambridge Associates, LLC, and Anthony Rust, chairman of the investment committee at the Warren Wilson College, joined Crane’s Board in June. Collectively they bring nearly six decades of investment management experience and deep experience working with endowments on sustainability, impact, and mission-related investing. “We are delighted that Sandy and Anthony have joined the Board” said Georges Dyer, co-founder and executive director of Crane and IEN. “Both bring extensive expertise and first-hand experience in helping endowments...

Read More


The Power & Impact Of Community Investing

“Decent affordable housing should be a basic right for everybody in this country. The reason is simple: without basic shelter, everything falls apart,” Matthew Desmond wrote in his book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Many endowments and experts focused on Community Investing would agree. While affordable housing serves as one aspect of Community Investing, such investment programs tend to catalyze local innovation and stimulate the economy by way of job creation and education. Further, for some investors, Community Investing tends to hit the bottom line twice: invigorating local economies while boosting returns. The Intentional Endowments Network (IEN) approached specialists within the Community Investing space to get their perspectives on the value of Community Investing, understanding how to...

Read More


Tony Cortese Named as AASHE Lifetime Achievement Award Wi...

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has named Dr. Tony Cortese as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing his outstanding achievements and progress toward sustainability.  With over 3 decades of leadership, Dr. Cortese played an essential role in the formation of many of the key organizations and frameworks in the higher education sustainability space - including the Talloires Declaration, Second Nature, AASHE, the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, and the Intentional Endowments Network - that have guided the evolution of the movement for sustainability by and in higher education. “The 2018 award winners demonstrate an inspiring passion for solving some of the world’s most complex challenges. They are truly pioneering the...

Read More


Two Recent Legal Decisions in Delaware Have the Potential...

In mid-July, the Delaware Senate passed a bill which, among other things, amends the code related to decedents' estates, fiduciary relations and property with a new provision that states that when making an investment decision a fiduciary may take into account the needs of the beneficiaries "as well as the beneficiaries’ personal values, including the beneficiaries’ desire to engage in sustainable investing strategies that align with the beneficiaries’ social, environmental, governance or other values or beliefs of the beneficiaries." Additionally, the Delaware Certification of Adoption of Transparency and Sustainability Standards Act was signed by the Governor at the end of June and will become effective October 1, 2018. This piece from Harvard Law School describes the act that makes it possible for companies...

Read More


What We're Reading: Barron's Special Report on Sustainabl...

This week, Barron's released a Special Report on Sustainable Investing containing 8 articles on topics ranging from how to get started in sustainable investing, the 20 most influential people in ESG investing, and a cover story on BlackRock's work in the space, highlighting CEO Larry Fink's 2018 annual letter to companies emphasizing 'positive contribution[s] to society.' “Short-termism has been captured by the tick-tock of reporting, that’s why I’m trying to create a louder dialogue about long-termism, or the idea that a long-term Warren Buffett-like process will lead to greater sustainable returns,” Fink reports in the article. “ESG risks are going to be a formidable component of investing over a sustained period of time. We want ESG risk management to be a...

Read More


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