Weekly News Round-Up: October 18, 2019

We're hoping to see you at one or more of the upcoming events this fall, including the upcoming AASHE Conference in Spokane, WA, where IEN is hosting a half-day workshop titled 'Using Endowment Investing to Help Create a Sustainable Economy' on October 27th. 

We will also be hosting both a panel and a workshop on sustainable investing at college and university endowments as well as expanding sustainable investing education on campuses at The SRI Conference in Colorado Springs, CO, November 13-15th. 

More than 20 IEN members and partners are coming together for the Shareholder Engagement Working Group call next Monday, October 21st from 3-4PM ET. We invite all interested members to join the Working Group call, more information is below.

Please reach out with any questions, to share your interest in participating in any of these events, or to let us know what events you're planning on attending this fall!

IEN Member Survey

Your opinion matters! Please take 5-10 minutes to participate in this year’s IEN Annual Member Survey. The annual member survey is an essential way for us to assess what's working, what's not, and to set priorities for 2020.

Participate in the survey now for the chance to win a free registration to the Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, taking place February 23-25, 2020 in Atlanta, GA–our flagship annual event bringing together presidents, trustees, CFOs, endowment staff, and sustainability leaders to explore the risks and opportunities climate change poses for colleges and universities and their endowments.


IEN in the News

Winners of The Inaugural SRI 30 Under 30 Award Announced l SRI Conference & Community

  • Congratulations to the winners of the SRI Conference's first 30 Under 30 Award! Awardees include IEN's Nicole Torrico and colleagues at IEN Member institutions Brown Advisory, Mobius Capital Partners, Green Century, Morgan Stanley, and Stake.

Opportunities for Action

Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change | The Investor Agenda

  • Deadline: November 22, 2019. For Climate Week, 515 investors managing $35 trillion in assets released the Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change - that's the largest-ever group of investors calling on governments to step up climate ambition. The statement is still open for signature by institutional investors worldwide!

Sign-on Opportunities:


New Resources & Reports

Accounting for Climate: The Next Frontier in ESG l S&P Global

  • This report discusses how investors and companies increasingly weigh climate risk into their investment decisions and strategic direction, and the question persists whether regulatory or market-based solutions offer a better path forward. Scenario analysis based on scientific research indicates that climate risk will begin to impact global growth in the near future. According to the report, S&P Global believes effective and standardized ESG disclosure is needed to foster this growth, presenting an opportunity for governments and regulators to work with market leaders.

Making a Clean Break: Ethical Investing for a Sustainable Future - A Guide to Fossil Fuel Free Investing l Green Century

  • This new report discusses why investors should consider going fossil-free, how to assess current portfolios, and how to reinvest in fossil fuel free options.

Sustainable Investing By Institutional Asset Owners

Norway’s Largest Pension Fund Divests from Oil Sands l Chief Investment Officer

  • Oslo’s Kommunal Landspensjonskasse (KLP), Norway’s biggest pension fund, is now excluding investments in oil sands companies from its $81 billion portfolio.

UN Pension Fund to Divest Coal l Chief Investment Officer

  • The $68 billion United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund’s (UNJSPF) Office of Investment Management said it will divest from investments in publicly traded coal companies by the end of next year and will not make any new investments in coal across all asset classes.

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Sustainable Investors Match the Performance of Regular Investors, New IMF Research Finds l CNBC

  • New research published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found the performance of “sustainable” funds is comparable to that of conventional equity funds. The IMF estimates there are now more than 1,500 equity funds with an “explicit sustainability mandate.”

ESG Incorporation Starting to Take Hold in U.S. – Callan Survey l Pensions & Investments

  • While incorporating ESG factors into investment processes is more widespread in other parts of the world, U.S. institutional investors are starting to catch up, according to Callan's seventh annual ESG survey released Wednesday. Some 42% of U.S. survey respondents said they incorporated environmental, social and governance factors into their investment process this year, up from 22% in 2013.

Here's Why JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs Say 2019 is the Year Climate Change is at the Top of Investors' Minds l Business Insider

  • A lot of the world's biggest banks are all talking about climate change, and say this is the year investors are most aware. This article highlights interviews with Goldman Sachs, UBS and JPMorgan to see why they have been investing in climate change and why investors and clients say it's at the top of their minds.

Where ESG Fails l Institutional Investor

  • Despite countless studies, there has never been conclusive evidence that socially responsible screens deliver alpha. A better model exists, argue Harvard Business School luminaries Michael Porter, George Serafeim, and Mark Kramer.

If Fund Managers Don’t Embrace ESG Now, They Won’t Matter in The Future l Trust Net

  • This article highlights the views of Dean Cheeseman a portfolio manager of the UK-based multi-asset team at Janus Henderson Investors. According to Cheeseman, paying attention to ESG is essential if fund managers are to keep evolving with their client base.

Shareholder Engagement

Fossil Fuel Bosses Must Change or Be Voted Out, Says Asset Manager l The Guardian

  • In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Ron O’Hanley, the chief executive of State Street, said his firm could consider taking the radical step of voting against the reappointment of entire company boards if they were not taking sufficient action to deal with the climate crisis. IEN member University of Toronto Asset Management participates in the Climate Action 100+ initiative and Harvard University Endowment recently announced their participation.  See more here to learn more about the initiative and how your university might participate.

Shareholder Engagement Working Group Call Scheduled l Intentional Endowments Network

  • More than 20 IEN members and partners are coming together for the Shareholder Engagement Working Group call next Monday, October 21 from 3-4 PM. We will learn and take action together to overcome the obstacles colleges and universities face to being a more active shareholder in order to meet the fiduciary demands of the 21st century.  Our ultimate goal is to set a practical path forward for all universities and colleges.  We invite all of our interested members to join our Working Group, reach out to alice@intentionalendowments.org for more information.

Investment Firm News

Climate Action & Your Portfolio: A Conversation About ESG Investment & Greenwashing With ETHO Capital l Clean Technica

  • This interview highlights the work of ETHO Capital, a firm that creates public equity index strategies that deliver financial performance driven by efficiency, innovation, diversification, and superior ESG sustainability.

Danish Firm Chooses Impax to Manage ESG Fund l Funds Europe

  • Danish fund house Formuepleje has chosen Impax Asset Management to manage its ESG fund which listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen on Thursday.

Climate Risk, Science, and Clean Energy
  • Home values could fall significantly. Banks could stop lending to flood-prone communities. Towns could lose the tax money they need to build sea walls and other protections. These are a few of the warnings published on Thursday by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco regarding the financial risks of climate change. The collection of 18 papers by outside experts amounts to one of the most specific and dire accountings of the dangers posed to businesses and communities in the United States — a threat so significant that the nation’s central bank seems increasingly compelled to address it.

World Urgently Needs to Quicken Steps to Reduce Global Warming l Thomson Reuters 

  • Countries around the world should urgently begin accelerating efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the best way to do that is through the implementation of carbon taxes and global cooperation, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday. The stark warning was issued as protests continue to demand immediate action to cut carbon emissions and avert an ecological disaster.

Majority of Companies Not in Line with Paris Agreement Goals l Chief Investment Officer

  • Climate Action 100+ is a five-year initiative launched in December 2017 that is out to ensure the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take “critical action” to align with the goal of the Paris Agreement to ensure the rise in global temperatures remains below 2 degrees Celsius. The group issued an initial progress report that found only 9% of the 161 companies they’re focusing on have emissions targets that are in line with (or go beyond) the minimum goal set forth in the Paris Agreement.

British Airways Owner IAG Commits to Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050 l Reuters

  • British Airways owner IAG said it will achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, becoming the first major airline group to make such a commitment. The aviation industry is under intense pressure from climate change activist such as Extinction Rebellion, which is aiming to shut down London’s City Airport on Thursday.

Coal Industry Pushed State Regulators to Lobby for Power Rescue l Bloomberg

  • A series of letters from state energy regulators asking the Trump administration to act on coal plant closures was orchestrated by a coal lobbying group, emails show, raising questions about the independence of the public service commissioners.

Two Dead Near Los Angeles as Saddleridge Fire Forces 100,000 People to Evacuate l USA Today

  • A wildfire consuming more than 11 square miles, has damaged at least 31 homes and forced the evacuation of more than 100,000 people, authorities say.

Fossil Fuel Divestment

Investors To Triple Fossil Fuel Divestment, Survey Finds l Funds Europe

  • Global institutional investors plan to divest 15.6% of their portfolios from fossil fuels over the next ten years, a study has claimed. According to the report by UK asset manager Octopus Group, which surveyed investors representing $5.9 trillion (€5.3 trillion) in assets under management, the renewable energy infrastructure sector is set to benefit from this asset shift.

Ireland Can Wean Itself Off Gas, Says Think Tank l The Business Post

  • Ireland should get out of gas exploration as well as oil and importing shale gas from the United States makes poor financial sense, according to the founder of climate and financial market think-tank Carbon Tracker. Founder Mark Campanale and energy analyst Kingsmill Bond are visiting Ireland this week to meet investors and policy makers to advise on the risks to financial markets posed by continued fossil investments.

To The Editor: Divestment Makes Sense for Universities l The Chronicle of Higher Education

  • This letter to the editor discusses how divestment is a powerful financial tool that reduces the flow of money to the fossil-fuel industry, and why it makes sense for universities.

Tufts Climate Action Group Extends Pledge to Parents, Alumni to Withhold University Donations until Divestment l Tufts Daily

  • Tufts Climate Action is urging current Tufts seniors, alumni and parents to withhold donations to Tufts until the university divests from fossil fuels in a pledge posted on Facebook. The petition encourages alumni and parents to withhold donations or to donate only to Tufts’ Sustainability Fund.

Tufts Administration Responds to TCU Resolution 19-7 Calling for a Carbon-Neutral Endowment l Tufts Daily

  • Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate published an Oct. 7 letter from Executive Vice President Michael W. Howard regarding his plans to establish an advisory group to the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees for the purposes of reviewing issues with the university’s investments in fossil fuels. The letter was in response to TCU Senate Resolution 19-7, “A Resolution Calling on Tufts University to Transition to a Carbon-Neutral Endowment,”

Fossil Free Macalester Weighs Board’s Decision on Fossil Fuel Divestment, Potential Next Steps l The Mac Weekly

  • In a long-awaited vote on Oct. 4, the Macalester Board of Trustees moved to ban all future investment in fossil fuel companies. But this move came with a catch: the college will still be able to invest in oil and gas companies if the investments are “reasonably likely” to result in a net decrease in carbon emissions. For the student organization Fossil Free Macalester (FFM), the decision appears to be a mixed bag. In addition to their decision regarding direct investments, the board also announced its intention to take a wide-ranging set of actions designed to decrease emissions and affirm the college’s commitment to sustainability.

Union College Students Press College to Divest From Fossil Fuels l Daily Gazette

  • A small group of Union College students joined hundreds of others in Albany last month to call for the college to divest from fossil fuels.

Partnership Opportunities
Calendar of Upcoming Events

IEN Events:

2020 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit | Intentional Endowments Network and Second Nature, February 23-25, 2020, Atlanta, GA

Other Events:

Webinar: Agrifood Conversations | iSelect Fund, October 17, 2019, 3pm CT 

Color of Education Summit | Public School Forum of NC, October 26, 2019, Raleigh, NC

Webinar: Protecting Our Great Lakes: The Great Water Challenge & Opportunity for Investors and Policymakers | Ceres, October 25, 2019, 11:00 am ET 

2019 AASHE Conference | AASHE, October 27-30, 2019, Spokane, WA Join us for a special IEN half-day workshop on October 27 - Using Endowment Investing to Help Create a Sustainable Economy

Investing for Impact Symposium | High Water Women, October 29, 2019, New York, NY

21st Annual Endowment and Foundation Forum | Opal Group, November 7-8, 2019, Boston, MA

Everyone Should Get it — ESG | Pathstone, November 12, 2019, Boston, MA. Contact Events@Pathstone.com to request an invitation.

SRI Conference l SRI Conference & Community, November 13-15, 2019, Colorado Springs, CO IEN Members can use code 'SRI30IEN' for a discount when registering.

2nd Impact Summit America | Phenix Capital, November 14, 2019, New York, NY. Asset owner IEN members are eligible for complementary registration.

GreenBiz 20 | GreenBiz, February 4-6, 2020, Phoenix, AZ

Washington & Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference | Social Enterprises, March 2-4, 2020, Eugene, Oregon, IEN Members can use the code 'IENCOMMCOMP20' to receive 30% off the cost of registration.

Croatan Forum 2020 | Croatan Institute, April 27-29, 2020, Durham, NC

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