Weekly News Round-Up: August 3rd, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: August 3rd, 2018

Below please find this week's news round-up.

Over the past four years, IEN has experienced exciting growth in our team, events, webinars, peer networking opportunities, and other activities to support intentionally designed endowments. This would not be possible without the essential support of Contributing MembersAs we work to continue to grow the Network and engage more endowment stakeholders, member support is more important than ever.  

Starting in October, this Weekly News Round-Up will transition to a member-only resource.  If your organization is not already a member please consider joining IEN as a Contributing Member -- you can learn more about the rates and benefits on our website. If you are unsure if you are a member, have further questions, or are potentially eligible for an exemption based on individual circumstances, please contact us

Additionally, if your institution has plans to announce a fossil fuel divestment commitment, please look into this opportunity to participate in a global press event being organized by the Divest-Invest Network around the Global Climate Action Summit in September.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

 

Program Manager, The Intentional Endowments Network

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IEN in the News

Leadership at Forefront of 2018 Appalachian Energy Summit l Appalachian Today

  • This article discusses this week's Appalachian Energy Summit, which took place at Appalachian State University, and where IEN held a plenary panel and workshop on endowment investing. At its core, the summit was created to support all UNC System campuses in being more sustainable, reduce the System’s energy costs and jumpstart a national transformative effort across energy policies and practices in higher education.

Divestment Stories: Durham and Trinity College Dublin l NUS

  • This article highlights the main points in last month's IEN webinar of fossil fuel divestment in the UK featuring speakers from Trinity College Dublin and Durham University.
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments & Pensions

Royal College of GPs to Divest From Fossil Fuels l Climate Action Programe

  • The UK’s professional body for GPs is to divest its holdings in fossil fuel companies. The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) made the decision last month at a meeting of the body’s Trustee Board. The RCGP is the UK’s largest medical royal college, representing over 52,000 members active as doctors and physicians across the country.

CalPERS on the Hunt for Renewable Investments l Chief Investment Officer

  • The new investment sustainability director for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is bullish on renewable energy power generation, signaling in comments that the largest US pension plan is continuing to look at expanding such investments.

Opinion: More Cities and States Should Divest From Private Prisons l The New York Times

  • In this opinion piece, Scott Stringer, the comptroller of New York City, and Javier Valdés, a community organizer, outline how pension funds have a fiduciary duty to make sound investments that grow their portfolios and help fund retirement benefits for their members. That means constantly evaluating the long-term viability and risk of investments across the pension funds’ portfolios, and this article argues how private prisons fail that basic risk assessment.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Winners of the 2018 Investment for Impact Research Prize l Berkeley Haas

  • This article discusses the work of Christopher Geczy, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Jessica S. Jeffers, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, David K. Musto, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Anne M. Tucker, Georgia State University College of Law for their paper “Contracts with Benefits: The Implementation of Impact Investing”.

A Timely Facebook Exit Has One Nordea Money Manager Cheering l Bloomberg

  • This article builds off of a tweet shared by Sasja Beslik, the head of sustainable investing at Nordea Bank, highlighting how ESG analysis factored into the Bank's decision to sell Facebook Inc. stock.

A Tech-Heavy ESG ETF That Didn’t Fall with Facebook l Wealth Management

  • This article highlights one example of how indexes based on ESG factors can hold an edge over the broader market, sighting how the TIAA ESG USA Large-Cap Growth Index, which allocates nearly 35% of its weight to technology sectors, owns no Facebook stock, having screened out the company based on an ESG analysis focused on data privacy policies.

Lack of Market ‘Plumbing’ Holds Back Sustainable Investing l Financial Times

  • This article explores howWe need standards, benchmarks and derivatives are needed to make this sustainable investing sector take off.

How Investors Are Abolishing ICE — in Their Portfolios l MarketWatch

  • This article highlights how many retirement savers and investors opposed to the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border are pulling their money out of the companies that help U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement carry out its mission.

The Rise of ESG & Sustainable Governance in Blockchain l NASDAQ

  • This article highlights the growing trend among Millennial investors-- a greater focus on verifiable and robust ESG practices by the companies they invest in. 

Ratings That Don't Rate: The Subjective World of ESG Rating Agencies l Real Clear Policy

  • According to this article, ESG ratings, on which investors increasingly rely, are flawed. They lack standardization and disclosure requirements as well as suffer from company size, geographic, and industry biases. To be a more useful and accurate guide for investors, ESG rating agencies must standardize analyses of disclosed information, adjust for biases, increase transparency, and disclose their success rates.

18 Impact Investing Trends You Haven't Seen Before And 1 You Have l Forbes

  • This article highlights 19 trends in the impact investing world that are most likely unknown to you, because they are developing in pockets and corners of the arena where most people don’t have visibility. 
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: July 27th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: July 27th, 2018

Below please find this week's news round-up.

Be sure to review IEN's new Briefing Paper on Options for Endowment Investment in Solar Energy, which focuses on how to most effectively enable endowments to make investments in solar projects and the solar energy market as a whole.

In case you missed it, a recording of yesterday's webinar on Barnard College's Divestment from Climate Science Deniers is available on our website.

Additionally, if your institution has plans to announce a fossil fuel divestment commitment, please look into this opportunity to participate in a global press event being organized by the Divest-Invest Network around the Global Climate Action Summit in September.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

 

Program Manager

The Intentional Endowments Network

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New Resources 

Briefing Paper: Options for Endowment Investment in Solar Energy l The Intentional Endowments Network

  • This briefing paper focuses on solar energy and how to most effectively enable endowments to make investments in solar projects, and the solar energy market as a whole. It provides guidance on three main approaches endowments can utilize to invest in solar: allocating capital across traditional asset classes in the investment portfolio, sponsoring a project by investing funds for its development, and allocating capital to a campus green revolving fund. 

Update on Barnard College's Approach to Divestment l Barnard College

  • This updated page includes overviews of the 30 companies evaluated in Barnard's assessment of companies that deny climate science, FFI’s divestment and climate action executive summary and fossil fuel divestment and climate action methodology, and case studies showing how three anonymized fossil fuel companies scored against criteria.
 
Opportunities for Action

Scholarship Opportunity to Attend Global Climate Action Summit l Youth Step Up

  • This contest, organized by Our Climate, invites young people from across the U.S. to submit their ideas for bold solutions to combat climate change via a creative project and essay. Winners will receive prizes of up to $5,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the summit in San Francisco on September 12-14, 2018. The goal of the contest is to engage young people from across the U.S. in international climate discussions and accelerate even greater levels of youth action on climate solutions. Submissions are due August 3.
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments 

University of Manchester Signs up to UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment l Manchester Newsroom

  • The University of Manchester has signed up for PRI, becoming the first English Russell Group University to join the organization. Stephen Dauncey, Director of Finance, said: “Our Revised Policy for Socially Responsible Investment has been in place for just over 12 months now and during that time we have made significant progress with our Investment Managers to allow us to pursue a sustainable approach to investment without compromising our investment returns. Subscribing to the PRI’s principles is the next step for us to show our commitment to our third goal of social responsibility.”

Northwest School Moving Toward Socially Responsible Investing l Capitol Hill Times

  • This article discusses how the Northwest School has recently announced plans to fully transition its $10.4 million endowment to socially and environmentally responsible funds.

Queens’ College, Cambridge Launches ETF Portfolio as Part of Carbon Divestment Strategy l ETF Strategy

  • Queens’ College, Cambridge has allocated part of its £55m global equity investment exposure to a self-managed portfolio constructed using equity sector ETFs, specifically to exclude extractive and carbon-intensive industries. The move is part of a package of measures developed by specialist consultant ElstonETF to enable Queens’ to respond to the concerns of the carbon divestment lobby without losing sight of primary investment objectives.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Investing

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how market regulators around the world are increasingly providing incentives to grow the green bond market; City climate change suits against fossil fuel companies get another blow and spark a warning to companies; Trump administration targets California's tailpipe rules; and the poor don't deserve toxic dumps in their backyard, writes Bloomberg Opinion's Noah Smith. 

The New NAACP Fund Shows ESG ETFs Are Evolving l benzinga

  • As more investors consider ESG strategies, fund issuers are bringing new spins on responsible investing to market. The Impact Shares NAACP Minority Empowerment ETF, was launched in partnership between Impact Shares, the first ETF provider structured as a non-profit entity; and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The new ETF follows the Morningstar Minority Empowerment Index, which provides exposure to U.S. companies that stand out for their commitment to racial and ethnic diversity.

The Next Step in Impact Investing: Breaking the Shackles of Extractive Thinking l Stanford Social Innovation Review

  • This article argues that as impact investing matures, it’s worth asking: Can we finance mission-driven enterprises in a way that shifts the core emphasis to regenerative environmental and social benefits?

5 ESG ETFs Outperforming the Broader Market l NASDAQ

  • In past three months, several ESG ETFs beat the S&P 500 (up about 5.6%). Investors should note that past three months were all about trade war tensions, mainly between the United States and China and between the United States and several of its key trading partners on a broader sense. This article highlights some of the outperforming ESG funds in the three-month period.
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: July 20th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: July 20th, 2018

Below please find this week's news round-up.

Also, registration is still open for Thursday's webinar on Divesting from Climate Science Deniers - The Barnard College Story, taking place at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager

The Intentional Endowments Network

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New Resources 

Social Equity Investing - Righting Institutional Wrongs l Cambridge Associates

  • This paper reviews the current state of social equity in the U.S., highlighting eight core social equity issue areas, and discussing lessons learned in constructing portfolios with these investments. While investors need to be mindful of risks, this paper discusses how investments can be made to promote a social equity impact agenda across the portfolio.

A Guide to ESG Portfolio Construction l Aperio

  • This paper explores We six quantitative ESG strategies that offer different approaches to the trade-off between excess risk and undesired ESG attributes that can align investors’ portfolios with their ethical and financial views.
 
Opportunities for Action

Sign-on Opportunity: Investor Letter to the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) on Their 5-year Standards Revision and ESG Factors l Ceres

  • This investor letter is to the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and closes on Tuesday, 7/31. Changes to the current standard must be made if the RSPO is to become a credible and inclusive verification system, which assesses compliance with a No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) standard.

Scholarship Opportunity to Attend Global Climate Action Summit l Youth Step Up

  • This contest, organized by Our Climate, invites young people from across the U.S. to submit their ideas for bold solutions to combat climate change via a creative project and essay. Winners will receive prizes of up to $5,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the summit in San Francisco on September 12-14, 2018. The goal of the contest is to engage young people from across the U.S. in international climate discussions and accelerate even greater levels of youth action on climate solutions. Submissions are due August 3.

WISE Client Application Fall '18 l Wharton Social Impact Initiative

  • Wharton Social Impact Initiative's (WSII) Wharton Impact Student Experience (WISE) offers opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students across Wharton and Penn to work on student projects with clients throughout the semester. This application is for organizations applying to be a WISE client this Fall. Applications are due COB on JULY 27th.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how carbon traders are preparing for the worst after the U.K. government suggested that it might withdraw from the world’s biggest emissions-trading market when the country leaves the European Union next year; Electric race cars are showcasing the batteries of the future; Biomass investment is down; Multi-class stocks would face more disclosures in U.S. House bill; Tesla's Elon Musk on his "last bet-the-company situation." 

Making Land Investment Accessible for Today’s Organic Farmers l B The Change

  • This Q&A article highlights Iroquois Valley Farmland Real Estate Investment Trust, a restorative farmland finance company that is helping organic and regenerative farmers gain long-term, secure access to land through farmland investment. By offering equity and debt investments, the company is able to provide favorable leasing and mortgage opportunities to farmers.

How ESG Investing Entered the Mainstream l Raconteur

  • This article explores examples of how, if ESG factors are ingrained in investors’ thinking, then a triple-win will follow – more valuable companies, more value for end-investors and, ultimately, a more sustainable system. 

Sustainable Investing Grows in Popularity, But is Dogged by Performance Questions l Market Watch

  • This article outlines the variety of new SRI funds that have opened this year, the reasons for such strong growth in the field, and an overview of the research on returns and financial implications of integrating SRI considerations into a portfolio. 

University of Delaware Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance Selected as Successor Organization to IRRC Institute l Business Wire

  • The Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute (IRRCi) today announced that it has selected the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance (Weinberg Center) at the University of Delaware as its successor organization. The Weinberg Center will receive a grant from IRRCi in excess of $1 million as part of the successor transition. With these funds, the Weinberg Center will materially expand its ESG and capital market research, and also maintain the full IRRCi research library so that more than 75 research reports remain publicly available at no cost.
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: July 13th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: July 13th, 2018

Below please find this week's news round-up.

In case you missed it -- be sure to check out our most recent newsletter highlighting The University of New Hampshire  and their history of sustainability and sustainable investing, an exclusive Q&A with three leaders in the gender lens investing space on the risks and opportunities associated with gender lens investing, and several exciting updates from the Network!

Also, registration is still open for Monday's webinar on  Aligning University Investments With Carbon Reduction Goals in the UK Through Fossil Fuel Divestment, taking place at 11:00 a.m. ET.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager

The Intentional Endowments Network

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IEN in the News

July 2018 Newsletter l Intentional Endowments Network

  • This issue of IEN's newsletter highlights The University of New Hampshire and their history of sustainability and sustainable investing, an exclusive Q&A with three leaders in the gender lens investing space on the risks and opportunities associated with gender lens investing, and several exciting updates from the Network!
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Briefs l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how sovereign wealth funds created by big oil riches are readying new bets on renewable power; Wind investment is up in the first half of the year but solar slowed; and companies and investors are finding more common ground on shareholder proposals. 

New Jersey Making Big Push on ESG Investing l Chief Investment Officer

  • In March, New Jersey withdrew its holdings in all automatic and semi-automatic firearms companies, following a nationwide divestment pattern in pension plans after a mass of shootings. In recent months, it also pressured two private equity firms against foreclosing on Puerto Ricans affected by Hurricane Maria and told Target not to work with trucking companies that see their drivers as contractors rather than employees. This is just one step in an ESG policy the Garden State is working on for its pension investments; it also aims to tackle corporate governance reforms. 

Catholic Super CEO Heads Up Sustainable Investment Talks With Global Leaders in Rome l Catholic Outlook

  • Global leaders in the Catholic and business community converged in Vatican City last week for the 3rd Rome Roundtable, cementing actions to make the world’s economy fairer and more sustainable. Catholic Super CEO Frank Pegan, who represented the investment community at the meeting in his capacity as Chair of the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), said the premier global meeting sought to strengthen the notion of ‘co-operative globalization’ to achieve more sustainable prosperity around the world.

Sustainable Heros - Green Leaders in Focus l Greentech Capital Advisors

  • This magazine highlights leaders in the sustainability field, with this issue highlighting a corporate leader, an Arctic explorer, a highly admired policy builder, an innovative investor and an entrepreneurial foundation president - all of whom share the goal of creating a sustainable world that is more resilient as well as financially stable. 

AI Is Helping Open ESG Investments to Quant Funds: Cerulli l Think Advisor

  • According to the July edition of the Cerulli Edge, AI is enabling investors to access huge amounts of information from objective sources, bringing greater frequency, granularity, and real-time analysis to ESG investments. “The use of big data and AI is radically transforming data gathering,” Justina Deveikyte, associate director of European institutional research at Cerulli, said in a statement. 

New Terrain: In Search of Social Justice Impact Investing l Inside Philanthropy 

  • Impact investing is still a fledgling practice in mainstream philanthropy, but its popularity is growing in a big way. This article explores how, for many institutions, especially those with social justice missions, there are big questions about how exactly to execute a hugely varying set of tactics that get lumped under the same rubric of impact investing. One of those institutions is the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, a small and progressive family foundation with a strong mission for social change—and a $55 million endowment it’s trying to put to best use. 

Catholic Relief Services Launches Water Project at Vatican Meeting on Impact Investing l National Catholic Reporter

  • Regular access to clean water is a challenge for some 2.1 billion people around the world, and Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops' overseas relief and development agency, has launched an impact investment project designed to help local communities improve their water and sanitation service.

The Remarkable Rise Of ESG l Forbes

  • This article discusses how ESG investing has matured to the point where it can greatly accelerate market transformation for the better. As corporations and investors experience growing influence and power, their actions and decisions increasingly shape the future. Provided that political framework conditions based on openness and global rules do not deteriorate further, market-led changes will act as a force for good on a truly massive scale.

Europe’s Banks Move to Greener Finance in Response to Climate Change Risks l Insurance Journal

  • This article highlights how some of Europe’s largest banks are unveiling plans to lend and manage money in greener ways as pressure mounts to account for risks associated with climate change.
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: June 29th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: June 29th, 2018

Dear {{ recipient.first_name_or_friend }}, 

Below please find this week's news round-up.

We are pleased to welcome The University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation as the newest member of the Network! 

We also announced this week that IEN has broadened our executive team with the addition of Sandra Urie, chairman emeritus of Cambridge Associates, and Anthony Rust, chairman of the investment committee at the Warren Wilson College, to the Board of Directors of The Crane Institute of Sustainability, IEN's organizational home. Read the full press release for more information.

Please 'vote up' our proposed SOCAP session discussing whether mission-aligned investment, and in particular divestment from fossil fuels, is a discretionary choice or a legal requirement.

Lastly, be sure to check out the articles in Barron's Special Report on Sustainable Investing highlighted below!

Have a great weekend and Happy Fourth,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

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New IEN Member
 
IEN in the News

The Crane Institute of Sustainability - Home of the Intentional Endowments Network - Expands Board with Two Key Additions

  • IEN 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.
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments  

Vermont State Colleges Shifts Portion of Endowment Funds to Fossil Free Investments l Vermont Biz

  • The Vermont State Colleges System Board of Trustees has agreed to shift a portion of its endowment funds into fossil-free investments starting this July.  At its summer meeting on June 21st, the Board approved moving 20% of its endowment, or approximately $5,700,000, into investments that are screened to be fossil-free. This reallocation is a pilot effort and will allow the VSCS to monitor and evaluate investment returns for similarly invested fossil free and non-fossil free portfolios.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Barron's Special Report on Sustainable Investing l Barron's

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how Nordea Bank divested from Facebook last week and thinks other sustainable investors should too; A U.S. judge threw out city climate change lawsuits;  and solving the plastic crisis starts with trash in Asia.

Investors Are Right To Consider ESG Risks, Says New Report By Corporate Governance Association l Forbes

  • Investors are right to consider ESG risks because they can impact the worth of intangible assets (including brand names, reputation, top managers, technological know-how and a loyal, well-trained and engaged workforce) which make up more than 80% of company value, said a new report by the Society for Corporate Governance. a professional association for internal corporate governance workers and external consultants.

Sustainability is Good For Humanity, But it's Better For Business l Business Insider

  • According to Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder and former CEO of the sustainable consumer product company Seventh Generation, current co-CEO of Sustain Natural, and professor of sustainability at NYU Stern, sustainability isn't just good for humanity — it's good for business.  On an episode of Business Insider's "The Bottom Line," Hollender said that sustainability is about more than the environment and that sustainable business practices are good for business.

How ESG Investing Increases Risk-Adjusted Returns l U.S. News

  • This article highlights how, while many investors view ESG as just another means of socially responsible investing, ESG investing can and should serve the role of risk reduction.

UK Initiates Social Impact Investment Drive l Chief Investment Officer

  • The UK government said it will work with the country’s investment and savings industry to help launch social impact investment funds. It also said it plans to encourage more investments in disadvantaged areas and to create “investment opportunities that address social challenges, while also creating a financial return.”

 How to Ensure Fund Managers Are Authentically ESG l Market Watch

  • A surefire way to work out if an ESG manager knows what they are talking about is to question the data that underpins their sustainable approach. Speaking at a roundtable event in London, Werner von Baum, managing partner at LGT Capital Partners, said you want managers to question the pros and cons of different data sets and still apply their own taxonomy.
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: June 22nd, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: June 22nd, 2018

Below please find this week's news round-up.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
New Resources

2018 Information & Communications Technology Benchmark l Know The Chain

  • The 40 ICT companies were assessed across the benchmark's seven themes, which were developed to capture the key areas where companies need to take action to eradicate forced labor from their supply chains: commitment; traceability and risk assessment; purchasing practices; recruitment; worker voice; monitoring; and remedy. There are a total of 23 indicators across the seven themes. For each theme, a company can score a total of 100 points.

Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate l Union of Concerned Scientists

  • This analysis looks at what's at risk for US coastal real estate from sea level rise—and the challenges and choices we face now and in the decades to come. 

New Energy Outlook 2018 l Bloomberg New Energy Finance

  • Focused on the electricity system, BNEF's New Energy Outlook (NEO) is an annual long-term economic analysis of the world’s power sector out to 2050. NEO combines the expertise of over 65 market and technology specialists in 12 countries to provide a unique view of how the market will evolve. 
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments & Foundations 

UK Pension Funds Get Green Light to Dump Fossil Fuel Investments l The Guardian

  • Managers of the £1.5tn invested in Britain’s workplace pension schemes are to be given new powers to dump shares in oil, gas and coal companies in favor of long-term investment in green and “social impact” opportunities. Government proposals published on Monday are designed to give pension fund trustees more confidence to divest from environmentally damaging fossil fuels and put their cash in green alternatives if it meets their members’ wishes. 
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how batteries will attract $548 billion in investment by 2050, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said; Climate change is already hitting housing prices; Procter & Gamble pledged to hire more female directors for its commercials; Institutional investors are working to implement socially responsible strategies across their portfolios says Morgan Stanley's Rui DeFiguerdo.

84% of Investors Apply or Are Considering, ESG – Morgan Stanley l Pensions & Investments

  • Eighty-four percent of asset owners globally are pursuing or considering ESG investing, said a survey released Monday by the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing and Morgan Stanley Investment Management. Among the 70% of owners who already are incorporating environmental, social and governance factors into their investment decisions, 60% began doing so in the past four years and 37% within the past two years.

68% of Institutional Investors Say Responsible Investing is Important – Aon Survey l Pensions & Investments

  • Sixty-eight percent of institutional investors globally consider responsible investing important to their organization to some degree, said an Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting survey released Tuesday. A belief that incorporating ESG factors resulted in better investment decisions was cited as the most popular reason for ESG integration (39% of investors), followed by a desire to impact global issues (26%).

Ixo Foundation Brings Blockchain and Impact Investing Close Together l Hedge Week

  • This article highlights a new foundation focused on using a blockchain protocol to track and measure impact investing has been created by Dr. Shaun Conway, a medical doctor and former adviser to the World Health Organisation.

Investing Sustainably Without Compromising Performance l Barron's

  • In this Q&A article, Matt Patsky, CEO of Trillium Asset Management, discusses sustainable and impact investing—or investing with measurable social and environmental outcomes in addition to competitive financial returns—as well as recent Department of Labor guidance that said “fiduciaries of ERISA-covered plans must avoid too readily treating ESG issues as being economically relevant to any particular investment choice.” 

Allianz GI Vice-Chair Calls for a Common Language Around Impact Investing l Insurance Asset Risk

  • In this article, Elizabeth Corley, Allianz Global Investors (GI) vice-chair and former CEO, discusses how to combat the inertia, confusion, and skepticism around impact investing, stakeholders looking for financial returns and those interested in non-financial returns have to find a common language.
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: June 15th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: June 15th, 2018

Below please find this week's news round-up.

Registration is still open for IEN members to attend next week's Confluence Philanthropy Advisors Forum in NYC, June 19-20, 2018. IEN is pleased to be partnering with Confluence to support this event, and we hope to see you there!

Additionally, SRI Conference Student Scholarship Applications are due June 20th! Please share this opportunity with any students that may be interested.

 

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
New Resources

When National Law Conflicts With International Human Rights Standards: Recommendations for Business l British Institute of International and Comparative Law

  • The general principle that companies should adhere to the national law, whilst seeking to respect IHR standards, is echoed in international standards and guidance, without much clarity on how to achieve both when they are opposed. This paper aims to assist companies by setting out recommendations as to how companies could address such conflicts.
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments & Pensions

Donors Require Socially Responsible Investments at Universities l Non-Profit Quarterly

  • This article highlights how North Carolina State University (NC State) in Raleigh received a pledge for a $50 million donation from Park Foundation, with the condition that the donated funds be invested in a “socially responsible” fashion. It also highlights the SRI related work of Hampshire College and Pitzer College.

Salem State University Fully Divested From Fossil Fuels l Wicked Local

  • Salem State University President John Keenan recently announced the university had completely divested its fossil fuel investments. Divest Salem State, an environmental advocacy group of students, alumni, and faculty, campaigned for full divestment over the past five years.

The World’s Biggest Pension Fund Struggles With Sustainability l Bloomberg

  • This article highlights the key findings of research done by Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, which has nearly $1.5 trillion in AUM. According to GPIF, external asset managers entrusted with passive investment tend to recognize long-term issues such as “E” and “S” as material ESG issues while external asset managers entrusted with active investment tend to recognize “G” issues as material ESG issues.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how Silicon Valley investors are rushing head-on into electric-scooter startups; BlackRock and Wells Fargo are developing ESG target-date funds for retirement plans; Tech shareholder meetings drew protests;  and more boards are looking at tying sustainability to executive pay says John Trentacoste of Farient Advisors.

BlackRock, Natixis, Wells Fargo Are Betting on Ethical Investing Funds for 401(k)s l Bloomberg

  • BlackRock Inc., Natixis and Wells Fargo & Co. are developing their first-ever ESG funds for retirement savings plans, seeking to tap into growing demand for ethical investing. Both firms plan to create a series of target-date funds with this focus, according to people familiar with the matter, with BlackRock aiming to debut some later this year.

The New Allure of Sustainable Investing l Barron's

  • This article highlights how surveys indicate that women’s interest in SRI and ESG investing is nearly as high as millennials. For example, a 2017 report from Cerulli Associates pegged demand for environmental, social, and governance investments at 84% for millennials and 76% for women in general.

Market Analysts Find Green Economy Market Cap Matches Fossil Fuel Sector l Green Biz

  • FTSE Russell last week published a study titled "Investing in the Global Green Economy: Busting Common Myths" which explores the current scale and performance of green economy investments. It concluded that while the green economy previously has been regarded as a "loose concept rather than a defined, investable, industrial system," investors are wrong to assume it is a limited, small cap-dominated market where they have to "give up performance in exchange for environmental benefits."

The Risks and Benefits of ESG Investing: The Advisor and the Quant l Think Advisor

  • In this article, an academic and a practicing financial advisor both answer the question: What are the benefits and risks of ESG investing?

The Need for a Common Language in Green Finance l The Asset ESG Performance

  • In this video, Aldo Romani, the European Investment Bank's deputy head of funding, describes how investors need a common language in green finance.

People are Really Into Impact Investing l Fast Company

  • In just one year, the estimated value of the impact-investing sector has roughly doubled. There are now $228 billion in assets under management, according to a recent survey from the Global Impact Investing Network, which is up an estimated $114 billion since mid-2017. Placing bets that provide both a financial and social or environmental return is booming.

Investing in Sustainable Agriculture l Green Money Journal

  • The June/July issue of Green Money Journal focuses of sustainable agriculture and includes articles from Frey Vineyards, Sustainable Farm Partners, Iroquois Valley Farms, NM Heirloom Corn Project, and the Food and Water team at Ceres as well as SOIL by Woody Tasch of Slow Money.

Can Impact Investing Avoid the Failures of Microfinance? l Harvard Business Review

  • This article aims to answer the questions of how we can make sure that the blossoming impact investment movement — especially as it starts to supplant traditional aid — actually leads to improvements in outcomes for the people and communities it is supposed to benefit.

ESG Investing in the Emerging Markets Is Tough, but Lucrative l Barron's

 
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Weekly News Round-Up: June 8th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: June 8th, 2018

Below please find this week's news round-up.

Be sure to check out the article below discussing North Carolina State University’s ESG journey & performance, as well as an article detailing Lewis & Clark College's sustainable investing process.

Registration is still open for IEN members to attend Confluence Philanthropy's Advisors Forum in NYC, June 19-20, 2018. IEN is pleased to be partnering with Confluence to support this event, and we hope to see you there!

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
New Resources

Annual Impact Investor Survey 2017 l The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN)

  • The GIIN’s 2017 Annual Impact Investor Survey is based on an analysis of the activities of 209 of the world’s leading impact investing organizations, including fund managers, foundations, banks, development finance institutions, family offices, pension funds, and insurance companies. Survey respondents collectively manage nearly USD 114 billion in impact assets, a figure which serves as the best-available “floor” for the size of the impact investing market.

Foundations of ESG Investing – Part 4: Integrating ESG Investing Into Factor Strategies and Active Portfolios l MSCI

  • This paper discusses two approaches to applying ESG ratings to factor-based allocations, and then investigates overlaying ESG ratings and ESG momentum on the historical holdings of nearly 1,200 actively managed global equity funds.
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments & Pensions

NC State Built a ‘Responsible’ Fund That’s Outperforming Its Main Portfolio l Bloomberg

  • “There are so many more opportunities today than there were when we started out,” said Libby George, director of invest­ments for the North Carolina State University endowment, when discussing the endowment's socially responsible fund in this article outlining North Carolina State University’s ESG journey & performance, as well as sections on Pitzer College, University of Maryland, Hampshire College, and BlackRock's work in the space.

The Dividends of Divestment at Lewis & Clark l Lewis & Clark College

  • In February 2018, the Lewis & Clark Board of Trustees passed a new policy calling for divestment within five years. The college would immediately cease making new investments in “the largest owners of coal, oil, and natural gas reserves” and start the process of selling off existing investments. This article discusses their divestment process.

CalPERS Teams Up With Canadian Pensions for Infrastructure, ESG Initiatives l Institutional Investor

  • Institutional investors including some of the largest pension funds in North America have pledged support to a trio of G7 initiatives focused on diversity, infrastructure, and climate change. The group represents more than $6 trillion in assets under management.

The Academic World Must Take Action for More Responsible, Sustainable Finance (Opinion) l MENAFN

  • This article calls out higher education institutions and their inability to create new innovative courses linked with the needs of economy and society, highlighting that the academic world has the power to transform society by redefining its social mission.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how a surprise policy shift by Beijing pummeled shares of solar power producers there; Some automakers are fine being last to the electric car party; and venture capital investors are looking for lower-risk clean energy opportunities in Asia, says Daniel Hersson, a consultant to the Asian Development Bank. 

Moody’s Says Sustainable Investment Rules Are “Credit Negative” l Funds Europe

  • Moody’s said recent EC proposals on sustainable finance were likely to raise asset managers’ operational and compliance costs and were a “credit negative” for the industry. But firms with the right infrastructure will gain flows from investors wanting strategies related to ESG investing.

Europe Moving Ahead on Standardizing Sustainable Investing l Pensions & Investments

  • Nathalie Berger, head of unit insurance and pensions at directorate general for financial stability, financial services and capital markets union of the EC, said the commission is working on introducing better transparency when it comes to strategies aimed at fostering a low-carbon economy. The work follows a proposal by the commission on May 24 calling for investors and money managers to integrate sustainable finance considerations into their investment processes.

How to Avoid ‘Impact Washing’ in ESG’s Fastest-Growing Sector l Investments & Pensions Europe

  • Third-party certification, shared principles, or a code of conduct could help guard against product providers exaggerating their impact investing claims, according to a survey by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN). More survey respondents were in favor of greater transparency on impact strategy and results, with 80% agreeing that this would help mitigate the risk of “mission drift”.

CoGS Recommends Responsible Investing Guidelines For Church Funds l Anglican Journal

  • A set of guidelines on divestment and other responsible investing practices has been recommended by Council of General Synod (CoGS) for use by Anglican and Anglican-affiliated organizations in Canada that hold managed funds.

Farming, Food and Education Benefit as Investing for Good Booms l Reuter's

  • This article highlights some of the findings from the GIIN 's 2017 survey, which found the impact investing market was worth $114 billion. The survey also showed strong growth in sectors that historically accounted for a smaller share of such investments, including education and food and agriculture.
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: June 1st, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: June 1st, 2018

Below please find this week's news round-up.

While registration is closed for our June 11th Community Investing Roundtable, registration is still open for IEN members to attend Confluence Philanthropy's Advisors Forum in NYC, June 19-20, 2018. IEN is pleased to be partnering with Confluence to support this event, and we hope to see you there!

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
 Opportunities for Action

US SIF Foundation Opens 2018 Survey on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends l Digital Journal

  • US SIF Foundation announced today that the window for the 2018 Biennial Trends Survey is now open. The survey will provide data for the 2018 edition of its Trends report.  For reference, please see the 2016 report and this piece showing Highlights from Educational Institutions. To request a customized link to participate, contact the US SIF research team at trends@ussif.org. All survey responses are confidential. 

Proxy Season Sign-On Opportunities

 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how the European Parliament backed plans to align EU capital markets to long-term sustainability goals; Global electric car fleet seen tripling in just a few years; Brown Advisory's Tom Graff on making sure green bonds are actually green; California takes global warming seriously. 

UN PRI Threatens to Kick Out Laggards l Financial Times

  • One in 10 of the signatories to a UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment have been placed on a watchlist for failing to show they are taking their commitment seriously enough, amid wider criticism of the body itself by investors. The PRI will put 185 of its 1,967 signatories on notice after an annual audit suggested they had not demonstrated a minimum standard of responsible investment activity.

Green Economy Reaches Landmark l Markets Media

  • Mark Makepeace, chief executive of FTSE Russell, said the green economy has reached 6% of the global listed equity market, the same as the oil and gas sector and also emerging markets.

Millennials are Leading an Investment Revolution — Here's What Makes Their Generation Different l Business Insider

  • Nuveen's "Third Annual Responsible Investing Survey" of over 1,000 affluent investors found there was increased interest in working for, buying from, and investing in socially responsible companies. This is even truer among the millennials surveyed. Some 92% of millennials agreed with the statement "I care more about having a positive impact on society than doing well financially" compared to 52% of non-millennials.

How to Take a Passive Approach to Sustainable Investing l Think Advisor

  • This article highlights how Morningstar's study: Passive Sustainable Funds: The Global Landscape, found there were nearly 270 sustainable index mutual funds and ETFs globally that had $102 billion in AUM, a threefold increase over five years, and includes a list of considerations that managers should use when determining whether to utilize sustainable passive funds or indexes.

Sustainable Finance in Europe Finally on Its Way l Market Mogul

  • This week the European Commission announced its first legislative package in support of the Action Plan for Sustainable Finance. This comes as a follow-up to the Action Plan on Sustainable Finance launched on the 8th of March and which builds on the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance Final Report, released in January this year.

Why New Companies Are Investing in Eco-Friendly Strategies l Born2Invest

  • Sustainable business practices have become an important part of investment strategies, for companies ranging from small crowdfunded startups to larger private equity houses with growing portfolios. This article explores how a growing customer imperative calls for greater transparency, social responsibility and more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. 

Hedge Fund Managers Increasing Use of Responsible Investment Principles l Pensions & Investments

  • Hedge fund managers have invested at least $59 billion globally using responsible investing principles, results of a survey of 80 investment management companies by the Alternative Investment Management Association and the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit showed.

College for Financial Planning to Launch Designation Devoted to Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing l Global News Wire

  • The College for Financial Planning (CFFP) will launch the groundbreaking new professional designation, the Chartered SRI Counselor™ (CSRIC™) this fall, in collaboration with the industry-group leader US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment.

Don't Get Thrown Off by Sustainable Fund Labels l Morningstar

  • This article discusses how fund labels themselves are not useful guides to differentiating among types of funds, and sustainable, impact, and ESG funds are not all exactly the same. Some focus on tilting their portfolios toward companies with superior sustainability profiles. Others focus on best-in-class selection, and still others simply include an ESG evaluation in the investment process alongside other factors. 
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments 

Building an Impact Investing Portfolio: The Putney School’s Journey l Impactivate

  • This article highlights the collaborative approach between students and trustees the Putney School took to research and hire a new manager for the school’s endowment fund and align the school’s beliefs and investment policies. Putney looks at investing through a broad ESG lens. The school’s new policy tilts investments toward companies that are environmentally friendly, are socially aware, and have strict governance factors, while utilizing shareholder engagement techniques to affect positive change at public corporations.
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: May 25th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: May 25th, 2018

Below please find this week's news round-up.

We still have a few spots available for asset owners at our upcoming Community Impact Investing Roundtable on June 11th at The Boston Foundation -- register here. (Please note that at this time only asset owner seats are available.)

Also, in case you missed it, follow these links to view recordings for this month's IEN webinars on An Overview of The Impact Management Project and The Importance of ESG Data & Corporate Engagement. 

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
 Opportunities for Action

US SIF Foundation Opens 2018 Survey on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends l Digital Journal

  • US SIF Foundation announced today that the window for the 2018 Biennial Trends Survey is now open. The survey will provide data for the 2018 edition of its Trends report.  For reference, please see the 2016 report and this piece showing Highlights from Educational Institutions. To request a customized link to participate, contact the US SIF research team at trends@ussif.org. All survey responses are confidential. 

Proxy Season Sign-On Opportunities

 
New Initiatives

Investor Alliance for Human Rights Launch I ICCR

  • This week, at an event held at Bloomberg, LP, the Investor Alliance for Human Rights, a new initiative designed to empower collective investor action on business and human rights, was launched. Convened by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), the Alliance will coordinate investor action on priority human rights and business issues -- engaging corporations, state actors, and international organizations to ensure greater corporate respect for human rights. The learn more about this work, check out IEN's webinar on The Investor Case For Human Rights.

 

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how newly minted social and sustainable bonds aren't making much of a return; Tariffs are taking a significant toll on solar imports; and Al Gore talks about the sustainability revolution.

Source Materiality: How to Approach ESG Material Disclosure l Green Biz

  • This article highlights The World Business Council for Sustainable Development's (WBCSD) recently released white paper focused on materiality in the food and agriculture sector specifically. The general idea behind the paper is that more effective application of the concept of materiality in the food and agriculture sector will lead to decision-useful information passing between companies and investors, leading to decisions and actions that take into account the full array of possibilities — including ESG issues.

Private Dept and Impact Investors l All About Alpha

  • A new study by the Symbiotics and GIIN research teams looks at private debt impact funds (PDIFs). The researchers found that the sample group (50 funds that meet the inclusion criteria and participated in the survey) have the following three important characteristics: they offer stable returns; allow for a range of risk-return strategies; and they have valuable real-world impacts such as “increased access to basic services like health and education to promotion of entrepreneurship and employment.”

Impact Investing and Dividends — Just One Combo That Uncovers Rare Alpha l Market Watch

  • This article highlights how, according to analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the path to enhanced returns lies through combining socially responsible and impact investing with another factor, such as dividend yield or value, and alpha from such a combination comes from the fact that stocks with high ESG scores have overall low correlation to other quant factors, such as high dividend yield, earnings yield or earnings momentum.

One Key To Impact Investing: Start Big l Forbes

  • This article contains an interview with Robert Rubinstein, founder and chairman of the TBLI Group, who has been advocating for sustainable, responsible or impact investing since the mid-1990s. 

Investors ‘Have Been Hijacked’ over ESG Integration: Danske Bank, Invesco l Investments & Pensions Europe

  • Investment professionals from Danske Bank and Invesco Asset Management argued in a newly published paper that the widespread and varied use of the term ‘ESG integration’ was making it increasingly difficult to know what that term really meant. “When ESG integration is disconnected from the investment process – when it is hijacked by screening, scoring, overlaying, filtering or any other form of framework or tool – something vital is lost in translation,” the authors said.

How Passive and Sustainable Investing Can Intersect l Morningstar

  • This interview with Morningstar's Director of Sustainable Investing, Jon Hale, highlights Morningstar's recently published survey of the passive sustainable investing landscape and what is happening in that space.
 
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