Vice President for Advancement at San Francisco State University speaks at CETYS International Seminar on Innovation in Higher Education

On September 19, 2016, Robert J. Nava, The Vice President for Advancement at San Francisco State University, spoke at The CETYS University International Seminar of Innovation in Higher Education. Nava's comments focused on social responsibility within the context of San Francisco State University and the SF State Foundation's commitment to align its core values of social justice and environmental sustainability with socially responsible investing. His full comments are featured below. 

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Press Release: Hank Paulson, Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, to speak at Intentionally Designed Endowments Forum at Loyola University Chicago

Hank Paulson, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Chairman of the Paulson Institute, and Co-Chair of the Risky Business Project will be the keynote speaker at the Intentional Endowments Network (IEN) and Loyola University Chicago’s Intentionally Designed Endowments Forum. Paulson and other speakers, including David Blood, co-founder of Generation Investment Management and former CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management will address endowment decision makers about climate risk and the growing interest in ESG investing. 

Please read the press release. For additional information about the forum please click here.  

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IEN Members to Deliver Session at 2016 AASHE Conference

We are thrilled to be delivering a session at the upcoming annual conference of AASHE - the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education - taking place from October 9-12, 2016 in Baltimore. 

The following IEN members will be sharing their perspectives: 

  • Christie Zarkovich, Director, Cambridge Associates
  • Mark Orlowski, Executive Director, Sustainable Endowments Institute 
  • Michele Madia, Director of Education and Partnerships, Second Nature
  • Ken Locklin, Managing Director, Impax Asset Management
  • Georges Dyer, Principal, Intentional Endowments Network (Moderator)

A description of the session is below.  If you're planning on attending, please join us for this exciting conversation!  If you're not yet registered for the AASHE conference, you can still do so until Sept. 22, 2016. 

 

 

 

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Recap: Accelerating Innovation in ESG Investing

This year IEN partnered with Bloomberg LP and the ICMA Centre at the University of Reading’s Henley Business School, to foster engagement and knowledge exchange on sustainable, responsible and impact investment between academics and practitioners. Together we designed a day of panels and discussions to bridge emerging academic as well as applied approaches to ESG integration and sustainable investment. Nearly 100 attendees representing asset owners, investment managers, investment consultants, and academics gathered at the June 13 event, "Accelerating Innovations in ESG Investing," hosted by Bloomberg LP.

An overview of recent academic research on the performance of strategies integrating ESG or sustainability factors was provided Dr. Andreas Hoepner, Associate Professor of Finance at the ICMA Centre of Henley Business School, during The State of Academic Research: ESG integration in Equities and Fixed Income session. The session also provided insights into how non-financial data such as signals from social media and markets can be used to help integrates ESG factors into investment approaches.  Hoepner highlighted that corporations with better ESG ratings are found to have lower cost of debt and higher credit ratings. From a portfolio perspective, ESG portfolios can have reduced downside volatility, according to study by Hoepner and others.

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Thoughts on Filing a Shareholder Resolution at ExxonMobil

From The Dwight Hall SRI Fund at Yale University

Last week, our shareholder engagement team at the Dwight Hall SRI Fund received some positive news. We learned that the shareholder resolution that we had co-filed at ExxonMobil was to be included in the company’s annual proxy statement and would be voted on by the company’s shareholders in May.

This is our latest milestone in an unfinished journey, which began in August of 2014. At that time, the Yale Corporation Committee on Investor Responsibility announced that the Yale Endowment would adopt a special proxy voting directive for the issue of climate change:

“Yale will generally support reasonable and well-constructed shareholder resolutions seeking company disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions, analyses of the impact of climate change on a company’s business activities, strategies designed to reduce the company’s long-term impact on the global climate, and company support of sound and effective governmental policies on climate change.”

As a student-run socially responsible investment fund, we at Dwight Hall SRI sought to file a resolution that the Yale Endowment might be able to vote for in accordance with the new directive. Moreover, Yale’s decades-old guidelines for ethical investment hold that when the exercise of shareholder voice seems unlikely to eliminate a grave social injury within a reasonable timeframe, the University should divest. So we recognized that filing a resolution would be a valuable opportunity to examine the efficacy of shareholder engagement in this context.

Pictured Above: Members of the Shareholder Engagement Team 

After some deliberation, we chose ExxonMobil over other possible companies, partly because of its status as the largest publicly traded international oil and gas company in the world. Early in December of 2014, we purchased stock in ExxonMobil. The SEC requires that shareholders must continuously hold a minimum of $2,000 in a company’s stock for at least one year in order to file a resolution.

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Moving to 100% Impact Investing Across All Asset Classes: A How-To Guide

By R. Paul Herman, CEO of HIP (Human Impact + Profit) Investor Inc.

How can you move your endowment and trustees from Intention to Implementation?  This four-step guide can help shift your institution more swiftly and comprehensively to a 100% impact-focused portfolio -- across all asset classes.  

 

 1. Re-affirm your MISSION, and embed it in every investment conversation – and asset class. 

Environmental organizations, from The Nature Conservancy to zoos and aquariums, exist to protect, preserve and spread Nature as its mission.  However, many endowment portfolios – even those with a clear purpose – are not always aligned with the mission. For the Global Conservation Network, whose mission is to ensure the expansion and preservation of species, Dr. Onnie Byers and GCN’s Board of Directors saw the portfolio of species protection directly conflicted with the mission. Two years ago, GCN re-allocated its diversified portfolio towards a “going fossil free” goal across all asset classes. GCN re-allocated to equity funds in small, mid and large cap, as well as emerging markets, plus bond funds holding corporates, munis and sovereigns to minimize the exposure to fossil-intensive companies. GCN reduced the associated greenhouse gas emissions associated with its portfolio by 70%. Today, with new fossil-free indexes available and more fund managers integrating environmental, social, and governance criteria (ESG), GCN could move to a portfolio that is 100% free of fossil-fuel producers and related firms, whether stocks or bonds.  

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Becker College to Invest 100% of Endowment to Benefit Environment and Society

On March 10th, 2016, Becker College, a founding member of the Intentional Endowments Network, announced that they have officially mandated that all investments in their endowment should generate a positive impact on society as well as a financial return. This makes Becker the first college or university to pursue a 100% impact strategy across its entire endowment, including metrics on health, income, equality, environment, diversity and transparency. The completion date for the portfolio transformation of the school's $5 million endowment is June 30th, 2017.

To read the press release, click here.

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Press Release: Founding Members of the Intentional Endowments Network


IEN_Logo_cs.pngNearly 80 colleges and universities, foundations, investment firms, and non-profits make up the Founding Members of the Intentional Endowments Network (IEN). After an 18-month pilot phase of building this peer-network and learning community, the launch of a more formal membership program represents an exciting milestone for the initiative. The list of members is available here

Please read the press release, and share this exciting news! 

 

 

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Michael Porter TED Talk: Why Business Can be Good at Solving Social Problems

In this TED Talk, Michael Porter, a professor at Harvard Business School, makes a case for letting businesses work to solve massive problems like climate change and access to water. Why? Because when business solves a problem, it makes a profit -- which lets that solution grow.

 

 

 

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Harish Manwani TED Talk: Profit's Not Always the Point

In this TED Talk, Harish Manwani, COO of Unilever, makes a passionate argument that including value, purpose and sustainability in top-level decision-making is not just savvy, it's the only way to run a 21st century business responsibly.

 

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