Before exploring avenues for aligning the endowment with institutional mission, trustees will want to have a common understanding of the institution's mission and to understand how that mission might be better reflected in the endowment's investments. They will also want to understand sustainable investing in the context of today's capital markets.
What is Sustainable Investing?*
Investing With Purpose l by Anthony Cortese, Co-Founder and Principal, Intentional Endowments Network, NACUBO's Business Officer Magazine, March 2018
"The Intentionally Designed Endowment"| by Anthony Cortese, David Dinerman, and Georges Dyer, AGB's Trusteeship Magazine, Sept/Oct, 2017
What is Sustainable Capitalism?
Companies Must Take The Higher Road Toward A Sustainable Future | Ceres, February 2018
Turning Point: Corporate Progress on the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability l Ceres, February 2018
Responding to Megatrends: Investment Institutions Trend Index 2017 | PRI, December 2017
The Transformation of Growth: How Sustainable Capitalism Can Drive a New Economic Order l Generation Foundation, June 2017
The Value of Corporate Purpose: A Guide for CEOs and Entrepreneurs| KKS Advisors & The Generation Foundation, May 2017
CFA Institute Resources - a full library of over 100 papers and presentations addressing sustainable investing topics such as CEO pay to clean energy, green bonds and board diversity.
Prudent Endowment Management
Trustees, in their responsibility for the prudent management of endowment assets, will want to understand how sustainable investing aligns with their fiduciary duty. The most frequent concerns that trustees want to address are:
Join Investor Initiatives
Join investor groups and initiatives to access resources, learn from experts and peers, and signal to stakeholders that the institution is engaged in this process. Membership and participation in these various initiatives are complementary and not mutually exclusive.
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Work with your Investment Consultant
Many, but not all, endowments work with an investment consultant, who may have full or partial discretion over investment decision making. Though your particular consultant may not have expertise in aligning your endowment with your institution's mission, it is likely that there is a group at the consultant's firm that is dedicated to developing expertise in this area.
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*A word about our terminology...
We use the term "sustainable investing" broadly to mean aligning investment practices with institutional mission and values and/or explicitly integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities in the investment process, regardless of the strategies used to do so. These strategies may include but are not limited to responsible investing (RI), socially responsible investing (SRI), impact investing, mission-aligned investing, shareholder engagement, positive or negative investment screening, and community investing.