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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Weekly News Round-Up: May 18th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: May 18th, 2018

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

Don't forget to register for our Community Impact Investing Roundtable on June 11th at The Boston Foundation-- registration is open here! (Please note that at this time only asset owner seats are available.)

Also, be sure to register for this coming Wednesday's  IEN webinar exploring the importance of ESG data & corporate engagement.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
New IEN Members
 
IEN in the News

Using ESG Data to Generate Alpha in Private Equity l Malartu

  • This article highlights how the demand for gathering real data on ESG initiatives in PE portfolio companies is growing stronger within the global limited partner base. Historically, this demand has been larger in Europe than in the US, but we’re starting to see real growth and adoption in the US markets.
 
 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 Resources

An Asset Owner's Guide To The TCFD Recommendations l PRI

  • The FSB Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) provides a global framework to translate non-financial information into financial metrics. This publication provides technical guidance on adopting the TCFD recommendations, including the actions for asset owners; examples of peer asset owner practice on implementing the TCFD recommendations and reducing exposure to climate risk; questions to engage consultants or fund managers on TCFD; and climate scenarios.

 

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how solar stocks jumped after California regulators ordered panels on most new homes starting in 2020; Repsol is shifting its business as it prepares for a global clean energy transition; and climate investors are going to start focusing more on resilience, Cambridge Associates' Liqian Ma says.

Accounting For Impact Alongside Market Returns l Barron's

  • The KL Felicitas Foundation, founded by impact investing pioneers Charly and Lisa Kleissner, has opened the books on its investments to show that a strategy aimed at doing good can live up to its social and environmental objectives as well as deliver returns. In a report published in late April titled “In Pursuit of Deep Impact and Market-Rate Returns: KL Felicitas Foundation’s Journey,” the Kleissners attempt to lay bare their thinking as well as their investments. The idea is to remove any mystery over how impact investing is done and, to show how it makes a difference.

Sovereign Bond Funds Employ ESG to Hold Nations to Account l Financial Times

  • Generally, responsible investors in this asset class use ESG data to assess the risks involved in investing in certain countries’ debt. They then use this analysis in conjunction with more traditional methods of analyzing creditworthiness to make a call on whether or not to invest. Some managers create ESG scoring systems for sovereign debt, while this article highlights Pimco, who has a blacklist of countries that fall short on certain criteria. The bond manager uses data to draw up lists of countries based on different measures.

Here's the Fastest Growing Strategy in Smart Beta l Institutional Investor

  • ESG was the fastest-growing smart beta strategy in the five years through 2017, with assets expanding at a compound annual growth rate of more than 50 percent, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch research report this week. How companies score in ESG is a strong indicator of future stock volatility, risks to earnings, and the potential for bankruptcy, the bank’s analysts found.

A New Multibillion-Dollar Investment Revolution is Being Led By This Woman l NBC

  • In 2017 an estimated $139.9 billion was invested in impact investment strategies, up more than 10-fold since 2014, according to the Global Impact Investing Network. Impact investors want to make decisions based on risk, reward and on the amount of "good" an investment produces in the world. Jean Case, the wife of AOL founder Steve Case, is a leading advocator for impact investing in the United States.
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: May 11th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: May 11th, 2018

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

Don't forget to register for our Community Impact Investing Roundtable on June 11th at The Boston Foundation-- registration is open here! (Please note that at this time only asset owner seats are available.)

Also, be sure to register for next week's IEN webinar discussing The Impact Management Project, taking place on Thursday, as well as IEN's rescheduled webinar exploring the importance of ESG data & corporate engagement, now taking place on May 23rd.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
IEN in the News

Callan Joins Intentional Endowments Network to Accelerate ESG Research and Education l Callan

  • This press release highlights how Callan, a leading institutional investment consulting firm, recently joined IEN, a nonprofit, peer-learning network advancing intentionally designed endowments that seek to enhance financial performance by aligning with mission, values, and sustainability goals.
 
 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 Resources

Prison Labor in the Corporate Supply Chain l NorthStar Asset Management

  • This report goes into detail about how prison labor has become a critical issue related to economic inequality, racial justice, and human rights. “Our country’s capitalist economy is firmly based upon the exploitation of slaves and their descendants, and our criminal justice system has always been racially-skewed towards incarcerating people of color. Today’s prison labor is an extension of this abuse,” explained CEO Julie Goodridge.

How ESG Engagement Creates Value For Investors and Companies l Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)

  • This piece of research, commissioned by the PRI, looks at how ESG engagement creates value for both companies and investors, amid growing evidence that engagement by investors with companies on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues can create shareholder value.  

 

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how investors are pushing big polluters to align their business plans with the Paris Agreement; Financing the clean energy economy requires new financial models, says Hannon Armstrong CEO Jeffrey Eckel; and Zynga backs away from super-voting rights.  

How Socially Responsible Investing Can Help You Avoid Catastrophic Drops Within Your Portfolio l Business Insider

  • In this video, Martin Kremenstein, head of retirement and ETF solutions at Nuveen, explains how, according to research from MSCI, companies in the bottom ESG quintile have been twice as likely to suffer a catastrophic loss (over 95% cumulative loss) within three years. As an example, Kremenstein says that Facebook was excluded from Nuveen's NuShares ESG Large-Cap Growth ETF from the time it launched in December 2016. He explains, "it scored relatively poorly, compared to other tech companies over data privacy concerns."

Chinese Investors Warming up to Impact Investing, but Regulations Slowing Progress l South China Morning Post

  • This article outlines how Chinese investors are showing increasing interest in start-ups with innovations that tackle energy consumption, social and climate change issues, but the main force behind such so-called impact investing remains foreign firms and supranational agencies, according to fund managers.

ESG Investing Becomes Mainstream l Commonfund

  • The subject of ESG arose in several sessions at Commonfund Forum 2018. One session, in particular, was devoted to the ongoing evolution of responsible investing, with a focus on ESG. This article highlights key takeaways from the session.

Common ESG Investing Misconceptions Debunked l NASDAQ

  • ESG factors aim to account for underlying effects a given company has on the environment, how the company interacts with society at large, including its own labor force, how transparent the company is with investors, and how investor friendly the company’s governance structure is. This article addresses some persisting misconceptions about ESG investing.

Women Leaders In Sustainable Finance: Modeling The Future—Part 5 l Financial Adviser

  • Over the past four months, this article series has compiled interviews with 18 women who are trendsetters and innovators in the impact and sustainable finance sector. To read other articles in the series, click here: article 1article 2article 3article 4.
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: May 4th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: May 4th, 2018

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

Don't forget to register for our Community Impact Investing Roundtable on June 11th at The Boston Foundation-- registration is open here! (Please note that at this time only asset owner seats are available.)

Also, be sure to register for next week's IEN webinar exploring the importance of ESG data & corporate engagement, taking place on Thursday. 

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
IEN in the News

 University Endowment Funds Face Increasing Pressure to be More Sustainable l Financial Times

  • This article discusses the findings from the annual survey by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (Nacubo). The most recent survey found that while the adoption of responsible investing was “growing gradually”, it was uneven from year to year. The article features a quote from IEN Principal Georges Dyer.

 Perspectives on DOL Field Assitance Bulletin l IEN Blog

  • This IEN blog post, written 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, discusses how 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 ESG factors, which was issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) on April 23, 2018.
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments, Foundations & Pensions

Want Your Endowment to Grow? Try Diversifying Your Investment Team l The Chronicle of Higher Education

  • This article highlights how, by strengthening the diversity of their investment managers, colleges can not only bring investment policies in line with their core mission, they can potentially increase the returns on their endowments.

UC Administration to Reinvest $500 Million Away from Fossil Fuels l The Guardian

  • In the UC Office of the President investments subcommittee meeting held March 13, UC Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Singh Bachher declared that of the three percent of UC stakes in fossil fuels, $500 million, would be reallocated away from nonrenewable energy sources. The decision was credited to fiscal reasons in conjunction with ongoing efforts made by the Fossil Free UC campaign but included no timeframe of implementation.

Sweden’s Largest Pension Plan’s $200 Million Anchor Commitment Rockets Co-Impact Fund Above Target l Chief Investment Officer

  • Alecta, Sweden’s largest pension fund, has committed a $200 million anchor investment for an impact fund co-investing in emerging market loans, overshooting the fund’s target by $50 million. Closing 25 percentage points above target at $250 million, the new fund is a collaboration of NN Investment Partners ($296 billion) and the investment arm of Dutch bank FMO ($10 billion).
 
 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

 
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Weekly News Round-Up: April 27th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: April 27th, 2018

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

Don't forget to register for our Community Impact Investing Roundtable on June 11th at The Boston Foundation-- registration is open here! (Please note that at this time only asset owner seats are available.)

Also, be sure to register for the next IEN webinar exploring the importance of ESG data & corporate engagement, taking place on May 10th. 

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments

University of Toronto Asset Management Corp. Reports on Responsible Investing Performance l University of Toronto

  • In 2017, The University of Toronto Asset Management Corp., which oversees nearly $10 billion in pension, endowment and other assets, became a signatory to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, and worked hard to incorporate an ESG lens to the already rigorous process it uses to vet investment managers. In 2017, UTAM’s approach resulted in a 12.4 percent rate of return for the pension and endowment portions of its portfolio, which beat the university's target return by 6.6 percent.

Knox College Committee Formed to Provide Guidance on Socially Responsible Investments l The Knox

  • A committee at Knox College formed to provide guidance to the Board of Trustees on socially responsible investing has released a form available to the Knox community to provide their input. The Knox Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing (KACSRI) has been meeting monthly since January to lay down the groundwork for the project, which they expect to really get going in the fall.
 
 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 Reports & Resources 

How ESG Engagement Creates Value For Investors and Companies l Principles for Responsible Investing (PRI)

  • This piece of research, commissioned by the PRI, looks at how ESG engagement creates value for both companies and investors, amid growing evidence that engagement by investors with companies on ESG issues can create shareholder value.  

 

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Investing

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how the U.S. Department of Labor unveiled guidelines that said ESG investments aren’t always "prudent" for retirement accounts; Philippe Zaouati, CEO of Mirova, on making sustainable finance more accessible; China's carmakers are ready to lead a global electric car revolution; It's time to question if pay equality really exists.  

Sustainable Investing, the Big-Money Way l Barrons

  • This article explores two big themes that investment consultants are increasingly being asked to help their clients with: sustainable and ESG investing, and heightened awareness regarding fiduciary duty.

Choose Ethical Investments to Make More Money, Says Deutsche Bank l The Telegraph

  • This article highlights a Deutsche Bank study of more than a decade’s worth of data showing companies that can pass an ESG test are typically better bets than those which fail. Based on data spanning from 1991 to 2004, a period that includes both market booms and recessions, the findings showed that model portfolios of stocks with a high ESG grade did not suffer from any loss of performance compared with their peers. By contrast, there is “a performance penalty for portfolios of low-rated stocks”.

Impact Investing Comes Into Its Own l Insead Knowledge

  • This article outlines how, in 2010, INSEAD’s Global Private Equity Initiative (GPEI) started to explore the nascent trend of responsible investing. In 2014, it published its first report on ESG factors within the private equity (PE) context. Four years hence, the industry has evolved significantly. Findings from the recently published book Mastering Private Equity are also discussed.

Social and Sustainable Investing Gets a Boost From an Unlikely Source: Wall Street Activists l CNBC

  • Several high-profile activists – including Cliff Robbins of Blue Harbour Group and Barry Rosenstein of Jana Partners – see environmental and social factors as profit plays. "This is hugely important – I think this is a new paradigm for smart investing," Robbins told a crowd at the 13D Monitor Active-Passive Summit last week. "I actually have wanted to run a proxy contest with an all-female, diverse, ethnic slate ... I think we'd win, hands-down," Bill Ackman said.

Can the World of Finance Be Tapped for Peace? l Knowledge @ Wharton

  • This article is a transcript of a speech given at the United Nations General Assembly this week by former investment banker Durreen Shahnaz, founder of the Impact Investment Exchange (IIX), the world’s first social stock exchange. To date, IIX has brought in $75 million from the private sector to benefit 15 million people across 40 countries. Shahnaz believes that reducing inequality will reduce conflict and lead to sustainable peace. She has launched a new five-year initiative that leverages finance to tap $1 billion and help 100 million people. 
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: April 20th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: April 20th, 2018

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

We are pleased to welcome four new members to the Network: The Unitarian Universalist Association, Nia Impact Capital, Strategic Investment Group, and Callan! To learn more about the leadership opportunities and benefits of IEN membership, click here.

Don't forget to register for our Community Impact Investing Roundtable on June 11th at The Boston Foundation-- registration is open here! (Please note that at this time only asset owner seats are available.)

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
New IEN Members

 

 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments, Foundations & Pensions

CalPERS Invests $1B in ESG Global Equity Portfolio l Chief Investment Officer

  • The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) has invested $1 billion in a new internally managed ESG global equity portfolio and added another $260 million to a second internally managed $7.5 billion synthetic equity portfolio, showed documents presented at the system’s investment committee meeting on April 16.

Team ASEAN Storm Resilience Fund Aims to Help Communities Withstand Extreme Weather Events in Southeast Asia; Wins 2018 Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge l Business Wire

  • Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in the U.S. today announced that ASEAN Storm Resilience Fund was named the winner of the 2018 Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge. The team proposed a storm resilience fund, with a development impact bond enhancement feature, to allow investment in storm-resistant structures to help communities withstand extreme weather events in Southeast Asia.

New York City Pension Funds Announce Climate Change Study and Carbon Footprint Analysis l New York City Comptroller

  • This week, the Trustees of the New York City Pension Funds announced that they will conduct the first-ever carbon footprint analysis of their portfolios and determine how to best manage their investments with an eye toward climate change.
 
 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 Reports & Resources 

Cornerstone Capital Group Publishes Report on Impact Investing Essentials l Cision

  • Cornerstone Capital Group announced this week the publication of its report titled, "Investing for Impact and Performance: The Essentials." The report provides an overview for ESG analysis when assessing investment opportunities, serving as a primer for those new to the concept.

Impact Investing Can Deliver Financial Returns with Better Data Finds New Study from Distilled Analytics and Boundless Impact Investing l Globe News Wire

  • A new market study released this week from Distilled Analytics and Boundless Impact Investing finds that despite the rapid growth of assets in impact investing, effective measurement of such investments are still elusive due largely to the lack of accurate, accessible data and outdated measurement methods. The analysis, entitled, “Data-Driven Impact: A New Era of Impact Measurement,” addresses the $23 trillion of assets managed under sustainable and impact strategies that need reliable evaluation, and uncovers how the industry can combine reliable data with innovative machine learning advancements to empower investors, drive more capital into impact sectors, and produce improved environmental and social outcomes.

 

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how Norway’s $1 trillion wealth fund is telling oil companies if they do more in renewable energy it may stick around as an investor; Simon Smiles, global chief investment officer for ultra-high net worth at UBS Wealth Management, on building sustainable investment portfolios across asset classes; Global warming is a central bank issue. 

Give your Money Real Clout With Impact Investing l Financial Times

  • This article describes two approaches to impact investing, a still new and yet to be fully embraced investing strategy. Most social impact bonds, where investors get paid by government bodies only if set outcomes are achieved, “are still at the science experiment phase”, according to this article.

Short-Sighted Investment Endangers Development Progress for Hundreds of Millions of People – UN Report l UN News

  • While a moderate upturn in the world economy led to more development financing in 2017, a new United Nations report out Friday revealed that the vast majority of investment is still short-term oriented, putting global commitments to create sustainable economies at risk.

How These Investors Saw Facebook’s Privacy Scandal Coming l Wall Street Journal

  • A handful of funds that pick stocks based on good governance scorecards weren’t at all surprised when Facebook’s share price tumbled last month following reports that a voter-profiling firm had improperly obtained profile information of tens of millions of user. They were forewarned by index provider MSCI Inc., whose analysts wrote in a June report that Facebook was “exceptionally vulnerable” to backlash from users and regulators because of its focus on “monetizing personal information.”

Can ESG Investors Halt Climate Change? l Morningstar

  • In this Q&A, Morningstar builds off of a recently hosted conference with The Investment Integration Project. The experts included Steven Lydenberg, founder and CEO of TIIP and partner at Domini Impact Investments; Robert Eccles, founding chairman of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and visiting professor of management practice at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford; and Anna Snider, head of due diligence, global wealth and investment management, CIO office at Bank of America.

Credit Suisse CEO: ‘$2.5 Trn Private Sector Will Dramatically Boost Sustainable Economy’ l Impact4All

  • In an exclusive two-part interview, Impact4All features editorNick Rice speaks to Marisa Drew, head of the Credit Suisse Impact Advisory and Finance Department, about the pivotal role of the private sector in creating a more sustainable planet.

What is Sustainable Finance? l The Economist

  • Traditionally, investors evaluated their performance based on financial measures alone. But investing with an eye to environmental or social issues, not just financial returns, has become mainstream in the past decade. According to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA), an umbrella group, fully $23trn, or 26% of all assets under management in 2016, were in “socially responsible investments” that take account of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. But what counts as “sustainable investment” in the first place?
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: April 13th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up:  April 13th, 2018

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

As noted last week, due to member feedback, we decided to postpone our Community Impact Investing Roundtable to June. We can now confirm it will be held on June 11th at The Boston Foundation. Registration is open here! (Please note that if you previously registered and did not email to confirm you can make the new date, your spot has been released and you will need to re-register, and at this time only asset owner seats are available.)

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
Sustainable Investing at  Endowments, Foundations & Pensions

Elizabeth City State University Eyes Rules for 'Responsible' Investing l Daily Advance

  • Elizabeth City State University is considering adopting rules to govern how the university’s endowment funds are invested. The ECSU Board of Trustees agreed last week to take up the topic of “socially responsible investing” with the university’s investment managers at a future session. Josh Lassiter, ECSU’s vice chancellor for business and finance, said the topic of socially responsible investing came up during a recent meeting of university leaders within the University of North Carolina System.

Church Fund Endowment Goes 100% Fossil Fuel Free l Pensions & Investments

  • Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ, Framingham, has moved its $10 million in endowment assets into the United Church Funds Beyond Fossil Fuels Balanced Fund. The Beyond Fossil Fuels Balanced Fund is a global equity fund that does not invest in any fossil fuel companies.

The European Asset Owners Aiming to Make an ‘Impact l Investments & Pensions Europe

  • The Luxembourg reserve fund and Unilever’s Dutch pension funds are among a number of European institutional asset owners that are either considering or explicitly preparing impact-related investment moves. In the Netherlands, the organization that manages Unilever’s two Dutch pension funds is looking to increase its allocation to impact investments to around 5% of the total portfolio over the next couple of years, according to Michael Kaal, the CIO.
 
 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 Reports & Resources 

Proxy Voting Guidelines 2018 l As You Sow

  • When shareholders demand real change, companies pay attention. If you’re an investor seeking to align your voting with your ESG principles, download Proxy Voting Guidelines 2018 today. You will find recommendations to help you vote your shareholder proxy ballot, covering critical issues such as climate change, environmental health, and executive compensation. The Guidelines are designed to be handed off to your investment advisor or proxy voting service, or you can use them to help you vote your own proxies.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how a record $9.36 billion of holdings in offshore wind farms were sold last year and investors want more; Activist investors have the power to get more women on boards, should they choose to use it; Yes, your chicken is on the blockchain; and a Q&A with Brandee McHale, president of the Citi Foundation, on Citigroup's sustainable financing efforts.

Women and Investing: New Business Strategies for Impact l Green Money Journal

  • The April 2018 issue of Green Money Journal is completely written by Women including Amy Domini of Domini Impact Investing, Kristin Hull of Nia Impact Capital, Julie Gorte of Pax World/Impax AM, Jane Carten of Saturna Capital, and Bonnie Foley-Wong of Pique Ventures. Also, see additional articles and a video on Women in Coffee from Equal Exchange.

Women Are Winning in Bond Funds. Why Aren’t There More of Them? l Bloomberg

  • Fixed-income mutual funds run by women have outperformed funds run by men since 2003, so you’d think the number of female managers would be rising. But the opposite is true: Only 14 U.S. debt funds were managed exclusively by women as of September 2017, compared with 47 in 2004, according to Morningstar Inc. And the share of women overseeing bond or equity assets has stalled at about one in 10 since 2015.

How to Use Neuroscience to Tackle Unconscious Bias l Personnel Today

  • Findings from a McKinsey Global Institute study (2015) revealed that a lack of gender diversity was associated with a greater likelihood of below-par performance in a sample of 366 companies in Canada, Latin America, the UK and the US. Testing for instinctive prejudices in the workplace is a controversial area. But an approach based on the functioning of the brain could help employees accept the need for it and defuse any resentment they may feel, writes neuroscientist and psychologist Dr Lynda Shaw.

ESG and Diversity Aren’t Buzzwords… They’re Good Business l Nasdaq

  • According to research conducted by a number of large consulting firms, companies with greater thought diversity outperform less diverse peers. As Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, admonished in his 2018 letter to shareholders, "[Diverse boards] are better able to identify opportunities that promote long-term growth." This article shares two concluding takeaways for officers and directors: (1) focus on ESG and boardroom thought diversity is not fleeting, and (2) shareholders can likely benefit from both.

Family Foundations Beginning to Shame Public Companies to Invest More in ESG Causes l Investment News

  • In March, Rockefeller & Co. transformed into Rockefeller Capital Management. New plans for the company include bulking up its asset management effort with socially responsible investing products. In a January report discussing the performance of its sustainability and impact analysts last year, the company said it voted 2,696 proxies and supported 46% of shareholder proposals, including two it co-filed. Among the steps it took to engage with companies it invested in, Rockefeller voted against an entire board slate for the first time because of "corporate responsibility shortcomings."
  • Sustainable funds had an opportunity to show off their lower-volatility character during a quarter in which the S&P 500 posted its first quarterly loss since the third quarter of 2015. Driven by the strong performance of the group’s core U.S. equity funds, one-third of sustainable funds finished in the top quartile of their Morningstar Categories and 55% finished in the top half.
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: April 6th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up:  April 6th, 2018

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

Please note that our Community Impact Investing Roundtable, originally scheduled for April 27, has been postponed. We will be confirming a date in June as soon as possible. We'll keep you posted!

Also, IEN is pleased to be partnering with Confluence Philanthropy to support their upcoming Advisors Forum in NYC, June 19-20, 2018. Registration is now open for IEN members.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
Sustainable Investing at  Endowments & Foundations

Stetson University Students Announce New ESG Stock Index l Cision

  • Stetson University's Roland George Investments Program (RGIP) recently launched a new stock index – the first of its kind-focusing on ESG (environmental, social and governance), during the semi-annual public trustee meeting. Five Stetson University RGIP seniors spent months researching, vetting, analyzing and, ultimately, pitching, a total of six stocks to a board of faculty and student trustees. Those six are the ESG index, which includes three publicly traded single stocks, HFDC Bank, Movie Pass and Planet Fitness stocks.

Mission Alignment Marks Next Frontier of Endowment Investing l Pro Bono

  • Society’s problems will not be solved by grantmaking alone, according to the US-based Nathan Cummings Foundation which has announced it is moving to 100% mission-aligned impact investing. In March the foundation revealed it will align all of its half-billion dollar endowment with efforts that advance its mission of “creating a more just, vibrant, sustainable, and democratic society and finding solutions to the climate crisis and growing inequality”.
 
New Reports, Resources and Opportunities for Action

Investor Statement of Concern on the Increasing Harassment and Attacks on Human Rights Defenders l Investor Alliance for Human Rights (IAHR)

  • In light of the increasing threats against human rights defenders globally, and the urgent situation facing indigenous rights defenders in the Philippines currently, IAHR is making a broad call to action for companies in the form of an investor statement, asking companies to take broad, systemic action to protect defenders, and immediate action to ensure the protection and physical safety of indigenous rights defenders in the Philippines. The deadline is Friday April 13, 2018 for signatures.

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. 

Best Interests in the Long Term: Fiduciary Duties and ESG Integration l SSRN

  • This paper dispels two persistent misconceptions continue to affect the way fiduciaries think about sustainable investing: (1) fiduciary duties block a fiduciary investor from considering environmental and social factors and (2) if a fiduciary investor engages in sustainable or responsible investing, the portfolio will suffer financially.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

French Central Bank Formalizes Responsible Investment Stance l Investments and Pensions Europe

  • The French central bank has adopted a responsible investment charter that will govern the management of some €20bn of assets. The charter is part of Banque de France’s vision of its corporate social responsibility, which it formally documented in a charter at the end of 2016.

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Blomberg Brief highlights how  Investors are focused on Tesla's finances after a tumultuous week for its shares and bonds; The EPA moved to cut Obama-era fuel-efficiency rules for cars and light trucks; and Royal Dutch Shell is seeing a viable, commercial business in solar and batteries in developing economies, Brian Davis, vice president for energy solutions in its New Energies unit said.

Ellevest Rolls Out Women-Focused Impact Fund l Impact Alpha

  • Ellevest, the robo-advisor launched last year by Wall Street veteran Sallie Krawcheck is launching an impact fund to invest in women-owned businesses and other underserved groups and ESG focused funds. The company, which manages about $100 million, said its impact investments “are specifically designed to generate measurable, positive social and/or environmental outcomes — with a focus on advancing women.”

Facebook Scandal Raises ESG Concerns l Financial Standard

  • Facebook is currently embroiled in multiple lawsuits as a result of having exposed raw data on 50 million users to political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. This article describes the thought process behind BetaShares decision to remove Facebook from its Global Sustainability Leaders ETF (ETHI). ETHI is the largest ethical global equities ETF traded on the ASX, with about $170 million in funds under management. The decision by the fund's responsible investment committee (RIC) to remove Facebook from the index ETHI tracks follows ongoing monitoring of the company's controversies and reputational issues.

Think Systemically, Act Locally: Who's Backing This Push to Build Community Wealth? l Inside Philanthropy

  • These are heady times for local and regional giving. Although national funders coming out of places like New York and the Bay Area command the most attention, growing philanthropic wealth can be found almost everywhere. Just this week, for example, the Minneapolis Foundation announced that it raised a record $100 million last year—more than double what it was averaging five years ago.  In turn, there's a lot of local giving action, which this article explores.

Hedge Funds Starting To Consider ESG Issues In Campaigns l Law 360

  •  Activist hedge funds better known for their financially focused campaigns are increasingly looking at public companies’ environmental, social and governance profiles, as institutional investors call for an emphasis on long-term value and markets react to the political climate and corporate scandals.

How the World's Largest Pension Invests in ESG l Investopedia

  • This article discusses The Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) in Japan, the world’s largest pension fund with $1.3 trillion in assets under management. GPIF has become a major player and stalwart of responsible investments worldwide - especially in Asia where, excluding Japan, SRI investments remain a minuscule slice of the asset pie under professional management (0.8% to be precise).

Hershey is Investing in More Sustainable Cocoa for its Chocolate Treats l Los Angeles Times

  • Hershey Co. is spending $500 million in the hopes of producing its iconic chocolate Kisses from more sustainable cocoa. Through its Cocoa for Good program, the company will invest the funds through 2030 to support four key areas: nourishing children, empowering youth, building prosperous communities and preserving natural ecosystems. The initiative's goals include eliminating child labor and increasing shade-grown cocoa, which can be productive for as much as 15 years longer than plants grown in full sun.
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: March 30th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: March 30th, 2018

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

Please note that while asset manager tickets are sold out, tickets for endowments and foundations for our Community Impact Investing Roundtable, taking place April 27th, are still available!

Also, The US SIF Foundation announced this week that the window for the 2018 Biennial Trends Survey is now open. See below for information on how to participate.

Finally, IEN is pleased to be partnering with Confluence Philanthropy to support their upcoming Advisors Forum in NYC; please save the dates, June 19-20, 2018.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
IEN in the News

Intentionally Designed Endowment Case Studies and Article Published in Business Officer Magazine l Intentional Endowments Network Blog

  • This March The Intentional Endowments Network published an article on 'Investing With Purpose' as well as two institution case studies: 'A Cooperative Path Toward Divestment' featuring IEN Member Lewis & Clark College, and 'Matching Investments to Mission' featuring IEN Member Becker College. 
 
Sustainable Investing at  Endowments & Foundations

One Year After Divestment Decision, Barnard Shifts Focus to Sustainability Practices l Columbia Spectator

  • While Barnard has taken steps towards divestment over the course of the past year, the college has noticeably shifted its environmental focus away from conversations surrounding divestment in favor of long-term sustainability initiatives. With the help of FFI and UCS, the college’s working group is refining the six criteria and scoring methodology that it plans to use to assess companies and ultimately devise a climate action list.

Nathan Cummings No Longer Just Experimenting with Impact Investing l Non-Profit Quarterly

  • This article dives into how this month, one of the leaders in impact investing, the Nathan Cummings Foundation (NCF), based in New York City, announced it intends to invest almost all of its endowment in funds that focus on alleviating climate change and reducing social inequality.

Washington University to Consider Creation of Endowment Transparency Committee l WU Student Life

  • Chancellor Mark Wrighton met with students to discuss the creation of a transparency committee to increase accountability in the University’s investment, endowment, and socioeconomic diversity March 22. While Wrighton announced he would not divest the University’s endowment from fossil fuel companies last April, he was open to the idea of creating a transparency committee on the endowment.
 
New Reports, Resources and 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. 

Roadmap for the Future of Impact Investing: Reshaping Financial Markets l The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN)

  • The Roadmap for the Future of Impact Investing: Reshaping Financial Markets presents a  vision for more inclusive and sustainable financial markets and articulates a plan for impact investing to lead progress toward this future. Specifically, the Roadmap details six categories of action to drive progress toward the vision. For each category, the Roadmap describes specific actions needed, which stakeholders should lead on these actions, and a timeframe.

Plant-Based Profits: Investment Risks and Opportunities in Sustainable Food Systems l FAIRR

  • This report outlines drivers of demand for sustainable protein, how investors are responding, how companies are responding, and progress on FAIRR’s sustainable protein engagement with 16 global food companies.

Banking on Climate Change: Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card 2018 l Rainforest Action Network

  • The ninth annual fossil fuel finance report explores how a handful of banks have published policies restricting their financing to some of the most carbon intensive, financially risky, and environmentally destructive fossil fuels. But as these grades show, banks have a long way to go to align their businesses with climate stability.
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: March 23rd, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: March 23rd, 2018

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

If you're in the Boston-area, be sure to register for IEN's Community Impact Investing Roundtable, taking place April 27th.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
IEN in the News

Investing With a Purpose l Business Officer

  • In this article, IEN Co-Founder and Principal Anthony Cortese discusses how endowment assets aligned with institution values and mission can reap positive financial and social returns.

A Cooperative Path Toward Divestment l Business Officer

  • In this case study, IEN Steering Committee member Carl Vance discusses the collaborative process among trustees, administration, faculty, staff, students, and alumni that IEN Member Lewis and Clark College implemented for a smooth transition to a fossil fuel–free campus.

Matching Investments to Mission l Business Officer

  • This case study describes IEN Member Becker College's transition to 100% impact investing in their endowment as the author shares three key insights that have emerged from their experience.
 
Sustainable Investing at  Endowments & Foundations

Nathan Cummings Foundation's Going 'All In' Was A Long Time In The Making l Forbes

  • The Nathan Cummings Foundation recently announced it’s going "all in"--redeploying its entire $443 million endowment to impact investments aligned with its mission. But as you might imagine, the decision didn’t happen overnight. It was a year in the making. Or maybe five, depending on how you look at it. Or more. This article explores the process.

Durham University to Divest its Shares in Fossil Fuels l Climate Action

  • One of Britain’s oldest and most revered universities is joining the growing movement of institutions who are divesting from companies involved in fossil fuel extraction. Durham University took the decision after a year-long consultation which reviewed the options, impacts, and views of the college.

The University of Bristol Announces Sector-Leading Fossil Free Divestment Target l University of Bristol

  • The University of Bristol has pledged to divest completely from all investments in fossil fuel companies within two years.

Mercers, Guns, and Opioids: When Should a College Divest? l Bloomberg

  • This article explores how Michigan State University has responded to various divestment campaigns and explores the process behind several college funds that have moved to shed investments related to fossil fuels, including Lewis & Clark College and Barnard College.
 
New Reports, Resources and Opportunities for Action

Investor Statement on Gun Violence: Invitation to Endorse - Deadline 3/23 l ICCR

  • In the aftermath of last month’s mass shooting in Parkland, a student-led movement has arisen that is demanding a legislative response to the epidemic of gun violence in our country. The objective of publishing this statement is to communicate the importance this issue holds for investors and to challenge companies to reflect on how they can contribute positively to resolve gun violence. 

Investment for Impact Research Prize l UC Berkeley Haas

  • Submissions Due April 3rd. The Investment for Impact Research Prize awards outstanding research pertaining to the social impact of capital. The prize was created by UC Berkeley Haas to encourage rigorous academic research on the impact of capital investments and to widely disseminate findings across both the academic and practitioner community.

Roadmap for the Future of Impact Investing: Reshaping Financial Markets l The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN)

  • This report assesses industry progress to date and outlines specific actions needed to exponentially enhance the scale and effectiveness of impact investing across the world.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights Facebook's privacy fiasco takes a toll on shareholders; Water and money have a $1 trillion relationship crisis; and the pipeline for green bonds and green loans is improving says ING's Leonie Schreve.

What to Do With Those Divested Billions? The Only Way is Ethics l The Guardian

  • This article, sponsored by the Skoll Foundation, discusses how SRI investment is soaring, and explores what the best options are for investors, and what potential impacts of those investments can be.

How to Invest With a Conscience (and Still Make Money) l The New York Times

  • Jean Case, the chief executive of the Case Foundation, is a leader in impact investing, a movement that aims to force social change by minimizing or eliminating investors’ exposure to companies that harm the world and achieve a solid return. In this article, she discusses some tips that even the most committed impact investor should consider.
  • This article explores how women today are taking on the challenges of this millennium with uncommon vigor and creativity by managing family, career and education in ways that are transforming how we live and work. Not surprisingly, as they begin taking a more active role in investing, the feminine footprint is making a notable impression on wealth management as a whole and on impact investing in particular.

Why ESG Investing Provides Competitive Advantage l Advisor.ca

  • Incorporating ESG factors into investment decisions is more than a niche practice for specialized funds. It’s become a “competitive advantage” for asset managers, says CIBC’s Dominique Barker. “It’s not just for SRI funds that have negative screening. It’s for all investments and [helps to make] better investment decisions for our end clients,” says Barker.

ESG Researcher Sustainalytics Buys Solaron Sustainability Services l Pensions & Investments

  • ESG research firm Sustainalytics purchased certain assets from Solaron Sustainability Services, a provider of environmental, social and governance ratings and research to global investors, confirmed Sustainalytics spokeswoman Cheryl Gustitus.

Community Foundations Go All-In on Place-Based Investing l B The Change

  • This article highlights The Baltimore Community Foundation, which is part of a growing wave of community foundations that are looking to shift part of their endowments away from Wall Street and into local businesses, affordable housing, and projects aligned with their place-based missions.
  • This article offers key questions to ask yourself if you've been considering a shift to a more ESG-friendly portfolio.

Impact Investing Basics l Investopedia

  • This article explores some of the common phrases used in impact investing and how it differs from traditional investing.
 
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