Weekly News Round-Up: March 9th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: March 9th, 2018

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

In case you missed it - be sure to view the recording from this week's IEN webinar on Long Short ESG Strategies for Endowments.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments

New George Washington University Sustainable Fund Will Test Limits of SRI, Experts Say l The GW Hatchet

  • Officials revealed plans last week to invest $2 million of the University’s $1.7 billion endowment in a fund dedicated to sustainable companies. Experts said there is a common misperception that these types of funds are not economically viable, but they said even if the fund underperforms, it’s not large enough to affect the University’s overall financial well-being. IEN is quoted in this article, and The Business Case for ESG Briefing Paper is referenced when discussing how SRI strategies help diversify investments and typically perform similarly compared to traditional funds.
 
New Reports and Opportunities

Proxy Preview 2018 l Proxy Preview

  • Proxy Preview 2018 is the 14th annual edition of the insider’s guide to social and environmental shareholder proposals. This free publication is the #1 resource for shareholders looking to align their values and investments.

How to Divest Invest: A Guide for Institutional Investors l Divest Invest

  • A guide by and for institutional investors on how to Divest from fossil fuel extraction companies and invest in solutions to climate change is now available. It provides the practical information for decision makers on how to integrate a DivestInvest strategy with the overall mission and asset allocation strategies of a fund. The guide also features case studies from a range of institutional investors including the Church of Sweden, Trinity College Dublin, RS Group and Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Spending Against Change: Key Metrics Assessment of Climate Change Governance and Political Influence Spending in the Energy and Utility Sectors l Sustainable Investments Institute & The 50-50 Climate Project

  • According to this report, twenty-one of the biggest energy and utility companies in the United States have minimal board oversight of climate risk and almost no board members with relevant climate-related expertise. These companies spent $673 million dollars over six years to influence the political system, predominantly with shareholder money. Companies directed three-quarters of the spending to lobbying, but only six of the 21 corporations voluntarily disclose these expenditures to their investors.
 
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: March 2nd, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: March 2nd, 2018

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

We are pleased to highlight that this week, The George Washington University announced the creation of a sustainable investment fund, an initiative that will allocate money from the university endowment toward responsible investment vehicles.

We also have several new resources to share, including a briefing on the community investing 'Opportunity Zones' program and an article outlining wealth inequality and the fallacies of impact investing.

Also, be sure to register for next week's IEN Webinar exploring the topic of Long Short ESG Strategies for Endowments, taking place on March 6th.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments

Student Association and University Leaders Announce the Creation of a Sustainable Investment Fund l GW Today

  • The Student Association, in conjunction with university leaders, announced this week the creation of a new Sustainable Investment Fund. The Student Association-driven initiative will allocate money from the university endowment toward responsible investment vehicles. As part of a larger responsible investment approach, the fund will promote and produce innovation in sustainable practices and seek to avoid investments in the top coal, oil and gas companies.
 
New Reports and Opportunities

Briefing on Community Investing 'Opportunity Zones' Program l US Impact Investing Alliance

  • Included in December's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was a set of provisions to incentivize investment in low-income communities throughout the U.S. Under the law, governors are given the opportunity to nominate communities to receive a new designation, “Opportunity Zones.”  Recommendations must be submitted by March 21, 2018. For more information on this program follow the link above.

Turing Point: Corporate Progress on the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability l Ceres

  • Cere's new report, "Turing Point: Corporate Progress on The Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability," looks at how more than 600 of the largest U.S. companies are responding to calls for climate action and positioning themselves for success in a world increasingly shaped by unprecedented environmental and social challenges. The analysis specifically takes a closer look at the progress of more than 600 companies to meet 20 key expectations of sustainability leadership within the areas of governance, disclosure, stakeholder engagement, environmental and social performance, as outlined in the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability.

The 100 Most Overpaid CEOs 2018 l As You Sow

  • For the past four years As You Sow has issued this report highlighting the 100 most overpaid CEOs among the 500 companies in the S&P500 index. The report’s prime focus is shareholder votes on these pay packages, particularly the votes of large financial managers, mutual funds, and pension funds.

Global Sustain Releases Global Report on ESG Market l Triple Pundit

  • Global Sustain Group conducted and released recently a new ESG/SRI & Impact Investments Market Report and Benchmark Analysis, entitled “ESG Investing. From Niche to Mainstream.” The report provides insights of the ESG market in Europe, in the US and globally, presenting selected and approved leading asset management firms, examining their ESG strategy and investments.
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: February 23rd, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: February 23rd, 2018

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

We are pleased to welcome two new members to the Network: Virginia Wesleyan University and Greentech Capital Advisors! To learn more about the leadership opportunities and benefits of IEN membership, click here.

Also, be sure to register for the next IEN Webinar exploring the topic of Long Short ESG Strategies for Endowments, taking place on March 6th.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
New IEN Members
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg brief highlights how the EU can boost the share of renewables to 34% of its energy mix by 2030, but would require investments of about $77 billion a year; BP raised its forecast for electric cars; and Sisa Ntshona, CEO of South African Tourism, discusses the sustainability lessons in Cape Town's drought.

Sustainable Investment, Show Me the Evidence l Willis Towers Watson

  • In this paper, “Sustainable Investment, Show me the Evidence“, Willis Towers Watson provides a sample of the academic evidence which demonstrates the value of doing so. The studies and meta-studies referenced at the end of the paper show reduced cost of equity, better stock performance, and lower fixed-income spreads as examples of how appropriate management of ESG factors can lead to improved risk and return outcomes.

Institutions Are Hungry for Dependable ESG Investing Data l Plan Sponsor

  • A new cut of data shared by Natixis Investment Managers is based on a broad survey of 500 institutional investors, including managers of corporate and public pension funds, foundations, endowments, insurance funds and sovereign wealth funds. Some investors cite the concern that publicly owned companies may be “greenwashing” reported data to enhance their image from the ESG investing perspective, cited by 37% of survey respondents.

Engagement and Divestment are Not Mutually Exclusive l Pensions Expert

  • The role and responsibility of fiduciary investors in accelerating low-carbon global prosperity has recently entered the public debate in a big way. Much of this success is due to the fossil fuel divestment movement. In only six years, 837 institutions with more than $6tn of assets have made a fossil fuel divestment commitment of some sort. The divestment movement, which has undoubtedly put pressure on both fossil fuel companies and their major investors, has opened the space for more ambitious and forceful investor engagement with companies about their approach to climate risks.

Want Strong Stocks That Also Have a Positive Impact on the World? Morgan Stanley Has 30 Candidates l Market Watch

  • Morgan Stanley analysts put together a list of 30 stocks that in their view “offer a strong fundamental investment case at the same time as creating a positive social or environmental impact.” The 30 were selected by the investment bank’s sustainability team, which evaluates securities through the lens of ESG investing.

ESG and Impact Investing: Do You Know the Difference? l Investment News

  • As investors increasingly rally behind the concept that their investment choices yield the ability to positively impact social or environmental issues, interest in impact investing has skyrocketed. This article takes a closer look at two terms we hear frequently — ESG and impact investing — and how they differ.

‘Green’ Investing Helps Shield Investors From Correction l Barron's

  • Investing in ‘green’ funds benefits more than just the environment; this type of investing can also be healthy for investors’ bottom line, recent data says. In the first nine days of February—during which the S&P slid 7.2%—two-thirds of all sustainable funds available in the U.S. finished in the top half of their respective categories—MarketWatch reports, citing Morningstar data.

Where Are The ESG Flows? l ETF.com

  • Despite the superstar-level hype around ESG ETFs the past few years, JUST A handful have become bona fide hits. Of the 65 ETFs classified as “socially responsible,” only one has broken $1 billion in assets under management: the iShares MSCI KLD 400 Social ETF (DSI). Fourteen others have topped $100 million in assets, a common liquidity threshold that many investors use to gauge a fund’s seaworthiness.

Kapor Capital’s New Partner Talks Health Startups, African-Americans in Venture Capital l Mercury News

  • The Mercury News talked recently with Onovakpuri about her new position at Kapor Capital. The Oakland-based venture firm has diversity at its core, focuses on funding underrepresented entrepreneurs and recently announced it has invested in more than 100 companies. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: February 16th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: February 16th, 2018

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

Highlights include Lewis & Clark College's decision this week to divest from fossil fuels, and a warm welcome to Grinnell College-- the latest IEN Member.To learn more about the leadership opportunities and benefits of IEN membership, click here.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
New IEN Members
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments

Lewis and Clark College Board of Trustees Votes to Divest From Fossil Fuels l Lewis & Clark

  • The Lewis & Clark College Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to divest from all fossil fuel holdings in the endowment, approving the recommended policy changes prepared by a subcommittee formed to study the matter. “When national politics are aggressively undermining U.S. commitments to fight climate change, it is up to local jurisdictions and institutions like ours to lead,” said Lewis & Clark President Wim Wiewel. “I applaud the trustees for their action today. We must be more than pioneers by name, we must be pioneers by nature.”

University Of Edinburgh Will Fully Divest From Fossil Fuels Within 3 Years l Clean Technica

  • The University of Edinburgh in Scotland has announced that it will completely divest from all investments in fossil fuels within three years in a move that goes a long way toward achieving the University’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040. The move to divest is a big deal in more ways than one. Not only does the University of Edinburgh have the largest endowment fund of any university in Scotland but this will make the University’s endowment the largest to be free of fossil fuel investments in the UK.

AP2 Creates ESG-led Multi-Factor Equity Indices for €10bn Portfolio l Investments & Pensions Europe

  • AP2, the second of Sweden’s national pensions buffer funds, has created a pair of multi-factor indices to guide its internally-managed global equities investment, in a bid to improve returns and take more account of ESG.
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: February 9th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: February 9th, 2018

Our Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit hosted in partnership with Second Nature earlier this week in Tempe was a great success. We had an engaging and action-oriented meeting with over 275 senior administrators from colleges and universities and leaders from government, business, finance, and civil society. Thank those of you that could make it -- videos and materials from the sessions will be up on our website soon!

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

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
New IEN Members
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments

The University of Edinburgh Announces Full Divestment From Fossil Fuels l The Student Newspaper

  • The University of Edinburgh announced today that it will complete the move of its investment portfolio out of fossil fuels over the next three years. This follows on from a similar decision in May 2015, where the University committed to moving out of investment in the heaviest polluting fossil fuel companies. The University of Edinburgh has a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2040.
 
Climate Change Action on College and University Campuses

Harvard's Climate Change Efforts l Harvard University

  • In this letter from Harvard President Drew Faust, he discusses Harvard's action on climate, progress so far, and goals for the future. According to the letter, Harvard will seek to become fossil fuel free by 2050 by meeting energy needs with sustainable sources and by setting targets for purchasing externally provided services that rely as little as possible on fossil fuels. As The University works toward this target, it will strive to become fossil fuel neutral by 2026, continuing to pursue aggressive reductions in fossil fuel emissions and, where feasible, to invest in high-quality, off-campus projects that displace comparable amounts of emissions for any emissions that remain. 

World-Class Research Universities Announce University Climate Change Coalition l Environment America

  • This week, at the 2018 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit hosted by Second Nature and The Intentional Endowments Network, a coalition of 13 world-class North American research universities launched the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3). The coalition is committed to using collaboration, research, and their collective resources to help communities accelerate action on climate change. The UC3 members include research universities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Making a Big Impact, Small Footprint at Duke l Duke Today

  • This week, Duke University and Delta Airlines announced the purchase of 5,000 carbon credits. With help from Greensboro-based Urban Offsets, the program also backs efforts to create a more equitable distribution of urban forests in Durham with tree plantings that will further remove carbon emissions as they grow.

The University of Maryland Secures $18.3 Million for Energy Conservation Projects l UMD Right Now

  • The University of Maryland has successfully secured $18.3 million from the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) for the development of a $21.5 million energy efficiency project to support the implementation of various energy conservation measures. The project will impact eight on-campus buildings, such as J.M. Patterson Hall and  Hornbake Library.

100% Renewable Campuses Campaign l Environment America

  • By shifting to 100% renewable energy, colleges and universities can play a crucial leadership role in moving our communities and our country to a healthier, cleaner future. This week, Environment America launched their Campus 100% Renewable Energy website -- furthering their work to join forces with motivated and active students. 
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: February 2nd, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: February 2nd, 2018

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

We are pleased to welcome three new members to the Network this week: TIAA, Glenmede, and Jarislowsky Fraser. For more information on the leadership opportunities and benefits of IEN Membership, click here.

We're looking forward to seeing many of you next week in Tempe, AZ for the 2018 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit!

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
New IEN Members
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

N.Y. State Common to Double Low-Carbon Equity Index Investment to $4 Billion l Pensions and Investments

  • The New York State Common Retirement Fund is increasing its investment in a low-emissions equities index by $2 billion, doubling the size of an investment vehicle that excludes or reduces holdings of high-polluting companies while investing in more environmentally friendly companies.

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how green bond issuance rose 67% last year and could be headed for another record; Anne Sheehan, director of corporate governance for the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, on a decade in ESG; Companies seen learning to love unions.

Why it's Time to Align Retirement Funds With Sustainability Goals l Green Biz

  • A new wave of environmentally focused retirement funds aims to advance corporate sustainability goals while enabling employees to save for their own financial future. At its winter forum in Phoenix next week, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development plans to set an aspirational goal to move $10 billion in assets under management to ESG-themed retirement benefit accounts by 2020.

February Green Money Journal: Millenials and Money l Green Money Journal

  • The new “Millennials and Money” issue of GreenMoney Journal is now online. The Feb 2018 issue features articles by Millennials who making a Difference including 4x Olympian Lauryn Williams of Worth Winning;  Kelly Coyne of Impax Asset Mgmt/Pax World Funds;  Megan Buchter of AIM2Flourish;  Will deHoo of the FoolProof Foundation;  and a podcast interview with Impact investor Liesel Pritzker Simmons of Blue Haven Initiative.

2018 ESG Trends to Watch l MSCI

  • According to this article, in 2018 the major trends that will shape how investors approach the risks and opportunities on the horizon will be sifting for management quality in emerging markets, first steps in scenario testing climate change, acceleration of ESG into fixed income investing, and looking beyond sustainability disclosure.

ESG’s Failed U.S. Invasion l Institutional Investor

  • ESG factors play significant roles in the investment decisions of 45% of European institutional investors, a Royal Bank of Canada survey found in October 2017. Among American investors, just 12% consider ESG meaningful, as do 16% of investors in Canada. The same survey found that 40% of Europeans believe ESG-oriented investments would likely outperform non-ESG assets, whereas only 5% of U.S. investors say the same. 

Sustainable Finance: High-Level Expert Group Delivers Roadmap for Greener and Cleaner Economy l European Commission

  • The European Commission welcomes the final report by its High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, which sets out strategic recommendations for a financial system that supports sustainable investments. The Commission will now move to finalize its strategy on sustainable finance on the basis of these recommendations. 

World’s Asset Owners Discuss ESG Investment Plans at United Nations l Chief Investment Officer

  • Discussing everything from divesting from fossil fuels to calling for companies to provide carbon footprint data, 450 investors with $30 trillion in assets under management convened at the United Nations on Wednesday to discuss the next steps investors must take during the eighth Investor Summit on Climate Risk. The day featured a panel where some of the world’s top investors detailed their “Next Steps on Climate Change.”

Women Leaders In Sustainable Finance: Modeling The Future—Part 3 l Financial Advisor

  • This is the third in a series of articles sharing interviews with 12 women who are trendsetters and innovators in the impact and sustainable finance sector. To read other articles in the series, click here: article 1, article 2.

ESG Dialogue Turning to Action l Pensions & Investments

  • In this article, Keith Dixson, head of international development at Candriam Investors Group, Stephen Harvey, chief operating officer at Institutional Shareholder Services and Vivek Tanneeru, portfolio manager at Matthews Asia, discuss the costs and challenges of building an ESG-compliant culture, the critical importance of engagement, the need for standardized reporting metrics, and where and how Asia leads the world in ESG.
  • Investors have more choices than ever to invest in open-end and exchange-traded funds that practice sustainable investing. That's the main takeaway from a new report titled “Sustainable Funds U.S. Landscape Report." 

The 3 Biggest Questions About Sustainable Investing l NASDAQ

  • In this article, Blackrock's Brian Deese discusses the most common questions he gets about sustainable investing, and how he answers them-- including an emphasis on the potential linkages between sustainable investing and long-term financial performance.

Scientists Develop Sustainable Investing Framework l phys.com

  • Scientists at The City University of New York and Harvard University, in partnership with UBS Asset Management, have developed a scientific framework to inform investment decisions that make positive contributions to sustainable environmental stewardship and human well-being. Among the beneficiaries are the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals that promote access to clean water, maintaining human health, food security and biodiversity protection.

Performance Need Not be Sacrificed to Responsibility l Financial Times

  • This letter to the editor, written by Linda-Eling Lee, The Global Head of ESG Research at MSCI, acts as a rebuttal to Terry Smith’s article “ESG? SRI? Is your green portfolio really green?, and discusses the differences in SRI and ESG Portfolio construction and historical performance.
 
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Weekly News Round-Up: January 26th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: January 26th, 2018

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

We are pleased to welcome four new members to the Network this week: iSelect Fund Management, Flat World Partners, Clean Energy Venture Group, and Fossil Free Indexes. For more information on the leadership opportunities and benefits of IEN Membership, click here.

We're looking forward to seeing many of you from February 4-6 in Tempe, AZ for the 2018 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit! If you haven't already, there's still time to register.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
New IEN Members
 
New Reports & Resources

Participate in GIIN's Annual Impact Investor Survey l The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN)

  • The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) is now inviting participants to contribute to its 8th Annual Impact Investor Survey. The report generated by this survey provides critical data to help grow and strengthen the impact investing market. If your organization makes investments with the intention to generate positive social or environmental impact alongside a financial return, please consider contributing to this important and widely cited resource. For more information, contact Rachel Bass, GIIN Research Senior Associate, at rbass@thegiin.org.

Racial Justice Investing Launches Online Group

  • In December 2017, a coalition called Racial Justice Investing launched an online presence with a newsletter for the impact investing community. Racial Justice Investing is a group of socially responsible investors and others in the business community who are taking action for racial justice within their own organizations, as well as in engagements with portfolio companies. Among other aims, the group's purpose is to identify the role of socially responsible investors in working for racial justice, and holding companies accountable for how their policies and practices impact people of color. They are seeking to work in alignment with racial justice organizers, while centering the expertise of people of color. To join and receive updates, contact hlucal@openmic.org. 

The Global Risks Report 2018 l World Economic Forum

  • Each year the Global Risks Report works with experts and decision-makers across the world to identify and analyze the most pressing risks that we face. As the pace of change accelerates, and as risk interconnections deepen, this year’s report highlights the growing strain we are placing on many of the global systems we rely on.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how bond rating agencies are looking more closely at disaster forecasting; Trump's tariffs shake up the solar industry; and Tesla tops up its bet on founder Elon Musk.

Why Larry Fink Isn't Waiting on Washington l Green Biz

  • Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential." With these words, Blackrock CEO Larry Fink last week pushed further open the door to a new era of capitalism in his annual letter to CEOs. This article explores why that new era may be the best chance we have left to solve a number of intertwined strategic challenges, such as climate change and how to welcome 3 billion people into the global middle class over the next 20 years.

ESG Roundup: More UK Consultancies Pledge ESG Trustee Push l Investments & Pensions Europe

  • Four more investment consultants have pledged to ensure UK pension scheme trustees are aware of investment guidance on ESG issues from the country’s pensions regulator. Sixteen investment consultancies have now signed up to an initiative of the Association of Member Nominated Trustees (AMNT) and the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association.

ESG Moves From the Margins to the Mainstream l Green Biz

  • There’s a growing recognition by companies and investors that this view is mistaken — that ESG matters are fundamental to business performance and should be disclosed in financial reports. Businesses are also coming to realize that integrating ESG concerns into core business and financial decisions will generate new streams of data that can be used to enhance growth and sustainability. This article was adapted from State of Green Business 2018, published by GreenBiz in partnership with Trucost.

Intel and Nike use this Investor Engagement Tactic Most Companies Overlook l Green Biz

  • This article outlines the steps to include in a proactive strategy to engage investors around your ESG performance to protect and create value for your firm. Engagement provides opportunities to increase investor understanding of your company's actions and efforts. It also can help develop more positive relationships with investors, open lines of communication and increase goodwill. Participating in the conversation can protect your brand, reputation, access to capital, and diversify your investor base.

Wanted: Private Capital to Tackle U.N. Sustainable Development Goals l Barron's

  • The $5 trillion to $7 trillion annual cost of addressing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, can only be met with a huge boost in private capital. Public monies are meeting only a fraction of this need. Many wealthy investors have already taken up the challenge as the concept of investing to reach social and environmental goals while earning a market rate-of-return increasingly gains traction. The size of the impact investing market to date is unclear, although the Global Impact Investing Network, or GIIN, says $114 billion is a “reasonable floor” based on its 2016 survey of 209 leading impact investors.

How to Drive Competitive Returns with Impact Investing l Wharton

  • In this podcast, two social-impact investors discuss their quest for competitive returns.

Lauren Compere: Socially responsible companies are proving good investments in Asia l Asian Review

  • Interest in the stocks of markets such as China and India and in ESG have reecntly boomed, with more than $70 trillion of assets now managed in line with the U.N.-supported Principles for Responsible Investment. It is time for investors in Asia to consider ESG principles and identify those companies robust enough to provide long-term growth opportunities.

‘We Have to Change Capitalism’ to Beat Climate Change, Says Blackrock Vice-Chair l Climate Home News

  • Capitalism must change to avert climate change, according to the vice-chair of the world’s largest asset manager, Blackrock. Two weeks ago, Blackrock CEO Larry Fink shook the corporate world with a letter demanding social responsibility in return for the support of his company, which manages around $6 trillion in assets. On Wednesday, at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, vice-chair Philipp Hildebrand expanded on that theme.

Socially Responsible Investing Gets a Trump Bump l Chicago Tribune

After Trump's election, though, the expectation was that a Republican-led Washington would enact policies at odds with ESG funds. It would favor the coal and oil industries, for example, which would undercut profits for the renewable energy companies at the heart of many environmentally focused funds. Instead, dollars continued to flow into socially responsible investments, and the industry launched 39 mutual funds and ETFs last year, a record. More and more products are out there now, and everything is poised to see ongoing growth, according to this article.

 

 

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Weekly News Round-Up: January 19th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: January 19th, 2018

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

Making headlines this week and explored in several stories below was BlackRock's Annual Letter to CEOs, calling on corporations to find a purpose in society or risk losing support from shareholders. 

The 2018 Higher Education Climate Leadership is only two weeks away (Feb. 4-6 in Tempe, AZ), and if you haven't already, there is still time to register!

Also be sure to register for our webinar with ICCR leaders on The Investor Case for Human Rights next week, on January 24th.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
New Reports

The State of Green Business, 2018 l Green Biz

The Business of Planting Trees l The Nature Conservancy & The World Resources Institute

  • A new report launched this week finds that restoring degraded land is not only good for the planet, it’s also a good investment opportunity as well. Through the analysis of 140 restoration-focused businesses in eight countries and four continents, The Business of Planting Trees shows that the economic benefits of restoring land are estimated at $84 billion per year and deliver a range of financial returns.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

BlackRock’s Message: Contribute to Society, or Risk Losing Our Support l The New York Times

  • This week, the chief executives of the world’s largest public companies received a letter from one of the most influential investors in the world. Laurence D. Fink, founder and chief executive of the investment firm BlackRock, is going to inform business leaders that their companies need to do more than make profits — they need to contribute to society as well if they want to receive the support of BlackRock.

From BlackRock With Love to Aimless CEOs l Barron's

  • Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, called on corporations to find a purpose in society or risk losing support from shareholders. In Fink's annual letter to CEOs, he wrote: "Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential. It will ultimately lose the license to operate from key stakeholders. It will succumb to short-term pressures to distribute earnings, and, in the process, sacrifice investments in employee development, innovation, and capital expenditures that are necessary for long-term growth."

CalSTRS’ Ailman Gives BlackRock’s Fink an “Ovation” l Chief Investment Officer

  • BlackRock CEO Fink’s annual letter to CEO's rang true to Christopher J. Ailman, CIO of the $221 billion CalSTRS. “As always, Larry is a thoughtful leader and [I applaud with a standing ovation] his focus on corporate governance engagement and board diversity,” Ailman told CIO.  “It is very much in line with CalSTRS’ own philosophy as patient, long-term capital investors with a large passive equity portfolio.”

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how BlackRock CEO Larry Fink offered a new model of shareholder engagement; Global clean energy investment in 2017 topped $333.5 billion; and impact investing in Native American communities.

CFP Board's New Gender Diversity Maven Takes Aim at Gender Gap l Financial Planning

  • More women are earning official financial planning credentials, but they still make up less than one-in-four CFP professionals. That’s a ratio Kathleen McQuiggan, an industry veteran, wants to nudge quite a bit higher. The CFP Board announced it has appointed McQuiggan to serve as a special advisor on gender diversity, a leadership role overseeing the board's Women's Initiative.

The Convergence of Digitalization and Sustainability l MIT Sloan Management Review

  • Digitalization and sustainability are two of the most powerful market influences in today’s corporate landscape. This article explores examples of these two trends converging within the organization abound, from clean technologies to greening production processes to transforming a company’s brand equity as a sustainable company. 
 

 

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Weekly News Round-Up: January 12th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: January 12th, 2018

Below find this week's news round-up.

Be sure to check out the stories highlighting the New York City Mayor's announcement this week that city pension funds have set a goal to divest about $5 billion from companies involved in the fossil fuel business, as well as the Mayor's announcement of a lawsuit against five major oil companies, seeking to collect billions of dollars in damages to pay for city efforts to cope with the effects of climate change.

Please note, with our new format for the round-up, we have moved the "Upcoming Events" section to the bottom of the email.

Be sure to register for our webinar on The Investor Case for Human Rights on January 24th, and if you haven't already, don't forget to register for the 2018 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, Feb. 4-6 in Tempe, AZ! 

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
IEN in the News

Executive Perspective: Educational Endowments and Sustainable Investing l Thomson Reuters Blog

The US SIF Foundation identified more than 80 educational institutions at the start of 2016 that were applying various ESG criteria to assets that collectively totaled $293 billion. In this article, Lisa Woll of US SIF describes some of the challenges and barriers endowments may face when approaching sustainable investing and highlights some examples of leaders in the space, including IEN and several member schools.

 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments and Foundations

Mission, Money and Markets: SIP Team Reflects on Favorite Deals of 2017 l Kresge Foundation

  • As 2017 comes to an end, the Social Investment Practice team members at the Kresge Foundation look back at what deals or impact investment advancements they saw launch into the market – both from Kresge and in the field beyond – that had them excited about seeing capital deployed in new, innovative ways toward social issues from the environment to neighborhood revitalization.

Episcopal Pension Invests in Socially Responsible Fund l Chief Investment Officer

  • The $13 billion Church Pension Fund (CPF), a financial services organization that serves the Episcopal Church, has invested $17 million in the Social Investment Managers & Advisors (SIMA) Off-Grid Solar and Financial Access Senior Debt Fund I. The $75 million fund will provide loans to microfinance institutions, distribution companies, and manufacturers in the off-grid solar sector located in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in South Asia.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Blomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how New York City's pension funds are to announce plans to divest fossil fuels; a segment with TIAA-CREF's Stephen Liberatore on defining impact in municipal bonds; and how companies are starting to backpedal on virtual meetings.

Number of Institutional Investors Using ESG Factors in Decisions Holds Steady l Plan Adviser

  • Adoption rates of ESG factors into the investment decision-making process among institutional investors has leveled off, according to the Callan 2017 ESG survey. 

This New Blockchain Protocol Wants To Create Accountability For Social Impact l Fast Company

  • The Ixo Foundation’s “proof of impact” protocol wants to give investors knowledge that their money is working–and save organizations time and money in evaluating if their programs are working.

Apple Urged to Curb Smartphone Addiction by Jana Partners and CalSTRS l The Street

  • Jana Partners, Barry Rosenstein, and public pension fund California State Teachers' Retirement System, which together own $2 billion of Apple Inc. stock, launched a new kind of activist campaign over the weekend, urging the iPhone maker to take action to curb growing smartphone and iPad addiction among children.

What's The Value Where ESG Meets Emerging Markets? l Forbes

  • In this Q&A, Liz Su, a member of the Emerging Markets Portfolio Construction team at Boston Common Asset Management, discusses the significance of ESG factors in emerging markets.

MSCI Links ESG With Stronger Asset Growth l Pensions & Investments

 
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Weekly News Round-Up: January 5th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: January 5th, 2018

Dear {{ recipient.first_name_or_friend }}, 

Happy New Year! Below please find news highlights from the past few weeks.

You may notice the new format for the news round-up, as we are now using our email system instead of the listserv for these weekly updates. We hope you like it; please send any feedback you may have.  (The listserv is still active for asking questions and interactive dialogue amongst the IEN community).

And, if you haven't already, don't forget to register for the 2018 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, Feb. 4-6 in Tempe, AZ! 

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments & Foundations 

UNC Asheville Looks For Help With Sustainable Investing l Pensions & Investments

  • University of North Carolina, Asheville, is requesting information from investment managers about how to reinvest part of its endowment in sustainable investment options. UNC Asheville's $40.5 million endowment is managed by UNC Management Co., which handles the pooled assets within the UNC system. 

Future Ford Foundation Director Weighs in on Role, Impact Investing l Chief Investment Officer

  • While he wraps up 2017 as managing director and co-head of Morgan Stanley’s Global Sustainable Finance team, Roy Swan will open the new year at the Ford Foundation as director of its Mission Investments team.CIO caught up with Swan to talk about his accomplishments, his thoughts on where the most potential future impact investments appear, and more.

The Church Pension Fund Invests in $75 Million Off-Grid Solar and Financial Access Senior Debt Fund l Business Wire

  • The Church Pension Fund (CPF), a financial services organization that serves the Episcopal Church, announced this week that it invested $17 million in the Social Investment Managers & Advisors (SIMA) Off-Grid Solar and Financial Access Senior Debt Fund I, B.V. The $75 million fund will provide loans to microfinance institutions, distribution companies, and manufacturers in the off-grid solar sector located in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

CalPERS Calls ESG Criticism ‘Laughable’ l Chief Investment Officer

  • The $344 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) has scoffed at a report from the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) that is highly critical of the systems’ ESG investments. CalPERS shot back at the accusations, saying that the CalPERS Investment Office’s investment decisions are based on its fiduciary responsibility to sustain the fund and pay the benefits public employees have earned.

 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Briefs l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights what trends to watch in the year ahead, from electric cars to carbon pricing; How SunEdison has emerged from bankruptcy; and that China's carbon market shows how far the U.S. is lagging behind, according to CDP's Paula DiPerna.

Women Leaders In Sustainable Finance: Modeling The Future l Financial Advisor

  • This is the first article is a series that highlights women leaders in sustainable finance and how they are using their industry experience to incorporate two trends into their roles as investment advisors, asset managers, research analysts and financial services executives. 

Break The Sustainable Investing Bottleneck l Investment News

  • This article outlines the various bottlenecks and barriers to adopting sustainable investing, including how Integrating sustainable investing requires understanding a new set of products, having deeper conversations with clients about personal values, and altering your own story about how you can deliver for the new investor.

2018 Sneak Peek: What to Expect of Impact Investing l Barron's

  • Impact investing—the strategy of investing in companies with the intent of bettering the environment and society while still earning a market rate-of-return—gained momentum in 2017 amid rising investor interest and high-profile opportunities from the likes of alternative-investment firms TPG and Bain Capital Management. This article shares the thoughts of executives at four leading institutions on what's in store for 2018.

2017 Was The Year That ... l Green Biz

  • As 2018 begins, there’s a renewed sense of commitment and forward movement on a range of fronts. In that spirit, this article, in no particular order, outlines some of the storylines that were covered at GreenBiz during 2017 that showed the promise and progress of sustainable business.

ESG, SRI & Impact Investing: Explaining the Difference to Clients l Investopedia

  • ESG, SRI and impact investing are industry terms often used interchangeably by clients and professionals alike, with the assumption that they all match in meaning and approach. This article describes the distinct differences between each term that will affect how client portfolios should be structured and which investments are suitable for meeting social impact goals.

Impact Investing: Conservation Gets Finance Boost l Euro Money

  • Conservation finance got a boost in December when the Global Environmental Facility (made up of 18 agencies) allocated over $8 million to the Coalition for Private Investment in Conservation (CPIC). CPIC brings together non-profits in the conservation area, including the Nature Conservancy, Rainforest Alliance and WWF, with consultants, impact investment managers and development agencies. Since coming together, the stakeholders have been forming working groups and sourcing projects suitable to be put into conservation investments for private investors. 

Impact Investing is Going Mainstream (Opinion) l CTech

  • According to this author, impact investing is no longer just a niche-- it’s going mainstream. That’s the message the Ford Foundation communicated earlier this year when it announced that $1 billion of its $12 billion portfolio would be devoted to mission-related investing. A significant chunk of the Foundation’s existing investment portfolio will be deployed over time into funds seeking to earn not only attractive financial returns but also concrete social returns. By doing so, the Ford Foundation seeks to align its investments with its mission to reduce poverty and injustice.

5 Impact Investing Trends That Emerged From 2017 l Iris

  • Impact investing drives social and environmental progress through investments, while screening for risk and creating competitive returns. This article outlines five impact investing trends that have emerged in 2017.

 
Green Bonds

Bonds Could Spur ESG ETF Growth l Investopedia

  • Bond funds represent a small percentage of the overall universe of ESG funds. When it comes to ESG exchange-traded funds (ETFs), fixed income is also a small, but growing part of that space. Importantly, the potential for ESG fixed income growth could be widespread across corporate bonds, sovereign debt and other parts of the bond market.

ESG & Bonds: A Compelling Combination l ETF Trends

  • With the universe of exchange traded funds following ESG poised to expand, investors should also expect to see more fixed income funds dedicated to virtuous investing. Some ESG bond ETFs came to market last year, according to iShares.

 
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