Weekly News Round-up: October 4, 2019

Welcome to October, also known as Campus Sustainability Month! This week, many IEN members are together at the GIIN Investor Forum. Look for additional opportunities to connect in the Calendar below!

While annual performance is not necessarily the best indicator of an endowment’s long-term ability to deliver on its goals, there were many stories this week about how endowments did thanks to new data being reported.

 

IEN Member Survey

We recently launched our annual IEN Member Survey! Early responders have already given us feedback on questions like “What resources or events did you find relevant or valuable?” - here are some results so far:

How would you answer this question? Help us strengthen the network by completing the survey today, and watch for updates from other members as we continue to tally early results.

The survey will close on November 29th. Thank you in advance for taking 5-10 minutes of your time!

 

Renewing IEN Members

The network appreciates the continued engagement of:

 

Opportunities for Action

2020 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit Call for Proposals | Intentional Endowments Network and Second Nature

  • Deadline Extended: October 11, 2019. Colleagues from all disciplines, backgrounds, and perspectives are encouraged to submit proposals for next-level conversations, workshops, and concurrent sessions for the 2020 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit

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

  • Deadline: November 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

2019 Progress Report | Climate Action 100+

  • In its first progress report released today, Climate Action 100+ shows that despite significant progress achieved, far more needs to be done by the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters in tackling climate change. The 161 ‘focus companies’ engaged through the initiative are collectively responsible for over two thirds of global industrial GHG emissions and represent a combined market capitalisation in excess of $8 trillion. Learn more about joining a number of IEN members in this investor coalition.

Evaluating Impact Performance | GIIN

  • This report presents a new approach for rigorously comparing impact results among investments within a sector, marking an important first step in enabling investors to make these comparisons in a meaningful and transparent way. Read the analysis by sector for Clean Energy Access and Housing to learn what creates the impact, who are the target stakeholders, how much impact has been achieved, risks to creating impact, and investors’ contributions to impact.

ESG 2.0: How to Improve ESG Scoring to Better Reflect Renewable Energy Use and Investment | ACORE

  • In this white paper, the American Council on Renewable Energy explores the current state of ESG investing in the U.S. and provides recommendations for ESG methodologies that better reflect renewable energy use and investment.

Unlocking Potential: A Blueprint for Mobilizing Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking | Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

  • The Commission’s report includes 30 separate actions for the financial sector — including investors, insurers, regulators and other sector representatives — under five main themes: Investment in innovation for prevention; Provision and enablement of effective remedies for modern slavery and human trafficking; Enforcement of laws; Creative use of leverage to mitigate and address modern slavery and human trafficking risks; Knowledge of those risks.
 

Sustainable Investing By Institutional Asset Owners

GMP Divests Pension Funds from Fossil Fuels | Vermont Biz

  • Green Mountain Power announced it is divesting its pension fund from fossil fuel companies. The company’s $180 million pension fund is 99.2% divested, and positive impacts are expected on financial returns. "Divestment began with colleges and churches -- it's truly a watershed moment when a utility firmly turns its financial back on the fossil fuel era,” said Bill McKibben, Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College and Founder of 350.org.
 

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bank of America: These Are the Top 10 Reasons Investors and Companies Should Care About ESG Investing | Business Insider

  • A new analysis by Bank of America Merrill Lynch takes a deep dive into ESG and shows the positives it offers for companies and people investing in the stock market.

ESG Investing: Can You Have Your Cake and Eat It Too? | CFA Institute

  • This blog post examines whether companies with high ESG ratings outperform their lower-ranked counterparts and concludes that ESG investing, even in a rudimentary, mechanical form, has generated returns that are highly competitive relative to the benchmark; and that firms with high ESG scores demonstrate lower volatility and possibly higher quality.

Domestic Workers Turn Investors: Announcing New Venture To Improve The Future Of Work | Forbes

  • To optimize and expand the ways in which domestic workers can shape their own industry (and destiny), the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) is entering an exciting new terrain: the investor community. With a $5M seed investment from the Quality Jobs Fund of the New World Foundation, NDWA Labs will begin providing patient and flexible capital for ideation, pre-seed, and seed stage entrepreneurs, and incubate new ventures that have a clear path to impact to improve job quality for the domestic workforce.

Citing Climate Risk, Investors Bet Against Mortgage Market | Reuters

  • This article summarizes reasons why some investors believe that climate risks are underpriced in the U.S. mortgage market. They argue that a growing body of academic research and data shows that hurricanes, flooding and other disasters pose a far larger threat than is currently being priced into mortgage securities.

Quantifying Climate Risk | S&P Global

  • Representatives of S&P Global, large institutional investors and corporate ESG experts gathered together in New York City to consider the challenge of quantifying climate risk for corporations. Beyond a shared concern over the issue of climate risk, there was a diversity of opinions over the best way to quantify climate risk and the best way for investors to act on their environmental concerns.

Is Religious Investing the Same as Responsible Investing? | Morningstar

  • This article summarizes a variety of faith-based approaches to investing, and how they related to ESG strategies.

(Listen) The Future of Impact Investing | Private Equity Wire

  • On this podcast, Elias Korosis, Partner at Hermes GPE where he oversees the firm’s innovation-led growth investment programme and serves as the portfolio manager of the Hermes GPE Environmental Innovation Fund, looks at the origins of impact investing and what influence innovation could have on impact investing in the coming years.

Why Invest Internationally in Companies with Strong ESG Practices? | Green Money

ESG ETF Assets Surge in 2019 | Pensions & Investments

  • Worldwide exchange-traded funds focused on environmental, social and governance issues had more than $13.5 billion in total assets under management at the end of August.
 

Shareholder Engagement

Catalyzing Corporate Change | ICCR

  • The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility reports on a successful 2019 proxy season. More than a third (108) of ICCR members’ 2019 proposals resulted in changes in policies and practices on issues of workplace diversity and inclusion, climate change, human rights, and more.

2019 Proxy Season Recap and 2020 Trends to Watch | Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation

  • In conjunction with recent investor behavior and industry trends (e.g., Business Roundtable Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation), the results of the 2019 proxy season evince an already-shifting pattern of voter behavior, and contain important clues as to what companies must do to prepare for the 2020 proxy season.

2020 Proxy and Annual Report Season: Time to Get Ready—Already | Mayer Brown

  • This legal update provides updates on what companies should be planning for for the 2020 proxy and annual report season.

World's Largest Banks Lagging in Sustainable Finance: Report | Reuters

  • Despite pressure from activists, investors and governments, the majority of world’s 50 largest banks have not made sustainable finance commitments to respond to the risks of climate change and continue to finance fossil fuels, according to new findings by the World Resources Institute.

Why Citigroup Just Named a Chief Sustainability Officer | Fortune

  • More and more consumer products companies have sustainability officers, as do fashion houses, grocery store chains, and car makers. But does a bank need one? Citigroup, for one, says yes—in part, because shareholders are demanding it.
 

Sustainable Business Spotlight

Read the latest observations on sustainable business trends from Greenbiz:

Good Business | Bloomberg

  • In Bloomberg’s weekly guide to sustainable finance, read about Norwegian oil divestment, the work of the Climate Action 100+ coalition, and more.
 

Socially Responsible Retirement Funds

Bit by Bit, Socially Conscious Investors Are Influencing 401(k)’s | New York Times

National Expert to Speak at MSU on Socially Responsible Investing | Bozeman Daily Chronicle

  • Some Montana State University employees want more socially responsible options when it comes to investing their retirement funds, so they can put their money where their values are. To raise awareness of socially responsible investing, Leslie Samuelrich, president of IEN member Green Century Capital Management, has been invited to give a free, public talk.
 

Community Impact Investing

Alaska Permanent In-state Program Serving a Dual Investment Purpose | Pensions & Investments

  • Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.'s recent launch of its in-state investment program touts a mission of generating excellent returns in addition to a broad goal of providing capital in diversified industries.
 

Green Bonds

(Watch) Are ‘Green Bonds’ Green? | Morningstar

  • A recent National Bank report found that the global green bond market is likely to hit record issuances this year, around US$245 billion for the full year. This trend is likely to continue as responsible and sustainable investing gains in popularity. Morningstar interviews Radi Annab from DBRS to learn more.
 

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Hedge Funds' Progress Toward Employee Diversity Improving | Pensions & Investments

  • The hedge fund industry remains a bastion of white males, but for reasons that may have more to do with investment performance and business survival than conscience, many firms are aggressively seeking to hire, retain and promote more women and people with diverse backgrounds, including military veterans.
 

Gender Lens Investing

Gender Lens Investing 2.0: How Foundations Can Address the Roots of Gender Inequality | Mission Investors Exchange

  • Katherine Pease of IEN member firm Cornerstone Capital Group discusses how foundations can help the investing field to dig deeper into the root causes of gender bias and take gender lens investing to its next phase.

New Study Reveals Nordics Lag in VC Funding for Female Founders | Forbes

  • A new report on female founders in the Nordics found that the diversity numbers in venture capital funding aren’t any better than those in the US. And female founders in the Nordics who do raise capital tend to raise less per round than male and mixed teams, and must raise it more often.

Fidelity Empowers Portfolios with Woman's Leadership Fund | MoneyShow

  • This article describes the Fidelity Woman’s Leadership stock fund, launched in May.
 

Student Managed Funds & Sustainable Finance Curriculum

CSU’s College of Business Launches Impact MBA | Colorado State University

  • For more than a decade, Colorado State University’s College of Business has been at the forefront of connecting purpose and profit through its hands-on Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA, and is moving forward with the next chapter in its legacy of helping students to build successful careers addressing some of the world’s most challenging social, economic and environmental problems with its new Impact MBA program.

At Harvard B-School, Lessons for Impact Investors | Reuters

  • Reuters interviewed Vikram Gandhi, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, who developed the course “Investing in the 21st Century: Return, Risk and Impact” based on years of experience working at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, as well as founding his own company, Asha Impact.

Business School Establishes New Sustainable Business Minor | Daily Emerald

  • In response to high student demand, the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business is now offering a new minor in sustainable business. About a dozen other universities have similar minor programs, including Loyola, the University of Minnesota and the University of Wyoming.
 

Investment Firm News

Future Returns: How TPG’s Rise Fund Invests in Energy | Barron’s

  • The energy sector investments sought by TPG's The Rise Fund fall across several themes aimed at reducing the harmful emissions that contribute to climate change and at making affordable, reliable, sustainable energy widely available. At US$2.1 billion, Rise is the world’s biggest private-equity fund investing for impact.

Credit Suisse Integrates ESG to Entire Product Range | Investment Europe

  • Credit Suisse Asset Management is integrating ESG into its investment process. In the first phase, more than 30 actively managed investment funds with more than CHF20bn of assets will be repositioned to fulfill the ESG criteria defined by the Credit Suisse Sustainable Investing Framework by the end of October 2019.

Nuveen Unveils High-Yield Bond ESG ETF | Financial Advisor

  • The Nuveen ESG High Yield Corporate Bond ETF starts with an investment universe found in the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. High Yield Very Liquid Index that captures the U.S. dollar-denominated, high-yield, fixed-rate corporate bond market. From there, MSCI and the responsible investing team at Nuveen choose securities conforming to ESG-focused criteria on an industry-specific basis.

Private Markets Get ESG Assessment Tool | Pensions & Investments

  • The Preqin ESG Indicators begin with widely accepted frameworks such as Sustainability Accounting Standards Board factors and the UN Sustainable Development Goals index, and applies them to a proprietary industry taxonomy, private capital deals data and fund-level performance database.

Federated Investors, Hermes and UBS Launch New Funds | Pittsburgh Business Times

  • The new funds seek to achieve meaningful social and or environmental impact as well as a compelling return.

Newton IM Strengthens Responsible Investment Team | Investment Europe

  • Newton Investment Management, part of BNY Mellon Investment Management, has expanded its responsible investment team with the appointment of Andrew Parry as head of sustainable investment.
 

Climate Risk, Science, and Clean Energy

New Public-Private Research Upends Traditional Carbon Pricing and Presents a More Effective Method for Pricing Emissions | New York University

  • Newly released public-private research from New York University and Columbia Business School proposes a new method for calculating carbon tax rates based on environmental, economic and social factors, including the costs the public pays for carbon usage such as damage to agriculture, vulnerable coastal infrastructure, and risk to human health.

There is Nothing Naïve About Moral Clarity | Medium

  • In this speech to the Climate Strike in New York City, Ocean Collectiv and Urban Ocean Lab founder Ayana Elizabeth Johnson argues for building community around climate solutions.

Climate Risk in the Housing Market Has Echoes of Subprime Crisis, Study Finds | New York Times

  • Banks are shielding themselves from climate change at taxpayers’ expense by shifting riskier mortgages — such as those in coastal areas — off their books and over to the federal government, new research suggests.

Jump-starting the Fight Against Climate Change: The Courts | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

  • This article argues that courts can act as a powerful accelerant to flame the adaptation revolutions—particularly in the United States, with its robust independent court system based on precedent. Legal judgments can sharply motivate government agencies, business leaders, and professionals to rethink how they do business.

Shipping is Overtaking Aviation in Emission Reductions | Quartz

  • Shipping and aviation emit more than 5% of the world’s greenhouse gases, not to mention black carbon, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Shipping, as late as 2016, did little despite being responsible for more than 3% of global emissions and set to hit 17% by 2050. Now shipping has not only caught up, it has exceeded aviation in emission reductions.

Global Insurance Partnership Rallies Resources and Expertise to Boost Climate Resilience | SDG Knowledge Hub

  • A global insurance initiative to boost climate change resilience for 20 of the most vulnerable countries was launched on the sidelines of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit 2019.
 
 

General Higher Education Endowment News

The Grades Are in for The Biggest Education Endowments | Bloomberg

CT University Endowments Riding Post-recession Growth Wave as Tuition Continues to Rise | Hartford Business Journal

  • Over the last decade, more than half of Connecticut’s 20 four-year nonprofit higher-education institutions at least doubled their endowment funds, with some schools’ nest eggs tripling or even quadrupling in value. A second article examines other factors endowments must consider, related to how the endowment is invested and spent.

For Notre Dame, Endowment Tax Means Fewer Kids See Rodin’s Work | Accounting Today

  • Smarting from a new federal endowment tax being imposed on wealthy private colleges, university officials say the levy will siphon money not only from financial aid and research but also from the school’s renowned art museum. Another view appeared in the Notre Dame Magazine this week as well.

Harvard Submits Public Comments to Endowment Tax Rules | Harvard Crimson

  • Harvard and more than 30 other colleges and universities jointly submitted their formal opposition to the United States Treasury’s proposed rules for levying a tax on some universities’ endowments that was originally passed into law in December 2017.
 

General Higher Education Sustainability News

Stewart and Lynda Resnick Pledge $750 Million to Caltech to Support Environmental Sustainability Research | Caltech

  • Philanthropists and entrepreneurs Stewart and Lynda Resnick, owners of The Wonderful Company, have announced an unprecedented $750 million pledge to Caltech to support cutting-edge research into the most pressing challenges in environmental sustainability. The commitment, part of Caltech's Break Through campaign, is the largest ever for environmental sustainability research, the largest in Caltech's history, and the second-largest gift to a U.S. academic institution.

Students Tackle 21st Century Sustainability Challenges on the Navajo Nation | University of Arizona News

  • Twelve University of Arizona graduate students have teamed up with undergraduates on the Navajo Nation to design a solar-powered water filtration system that can provide 50 gallons of safe, clean water to 30 Navajo families per day. The students are part of the first cohort of trainees to participate in a five-year, $3 million National Science Foundation grant that enables an unprecedented collaboration between the UA and Diné College, which serves a predominantly Navajo student population.

University of Dayton Joins Second Nature Commitment Affirming Higher Ed's Role in Shaping Climate-resilient Communities | University of Dayton

  • University of Dayton President Eric F. Spina signed Second Nature's Resilience Commitment focused on climate adaptation and community-building to address a changing climate and resulting extremes.

Dickinson College to Host Higher Education Climate Change Summit | PR Newswire

  • BE.Hive on Campus: Climate Change Needs Behavior Change (BE for Behavior and Environment) will convene more than 300 individuals— students, faculty and campus changemakers from 38 colleges and universities together with leaders in business and conservation— on October 5, 2019 to explore proven and promising solutions to motivating climate-friendly habits and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Saving the Planet, Growing Jobs | Montclair State University

  • Leaders in government, technology, education and business met at the second annual Clean and Sustainable Energy Summit, presented by the Clean Energy and Sustainable Analytics Center at Montclair State University to share information and discuss the initiatives that are putting New Jersey at the forefront of clean and sustainable energy in the U.S. and beyond.
 

Fossil Fuel Divestment

Photos: Inside the Raucous, Colorful Protest that Shut Down “Wall Street West” | Mother Jones

  • San Francisco activists joined a global movement calling for banks to divest from fossil fuels.

Debating Divestment | Harvard Magazine

  • Read faculty statements presented as part of a two-part Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences meeting debating fossil fuel divestment. 

Inside the AMS's Push to Divest | Queen’s University Journal

  • The Queen’s University Alma Mater Society announced on Monday it had completely divested from holdings in companies that produce, transport, and dispense fossil fuels, becoming the first student government in Ontario to do so.

Tell Board of Trustees to Divest from Fossil Fuels Next Friday | Mac Weekly

  • This opinion piece argues for fossil fuel divestment, noting that Macalester College has invested approximately $40 million into the top 200 fossil fuel companies, representing 5% of its endowment.

Harvard Alumni Recruit Professional Divestment Activists | Harvard Crimson

  • The Ad Hoc Committee for Harvard Divest — a group of Harvard alumni advocating for the University to divest its endowment from fossil fuels— raised $60,000 to hire two coordinators for alumni activities through the Cambridge climate group Better Future Project.

Climate Change Isn’t the Only Reason to Divest From Fossil Fuels | Cornell Daily Sun

  • This opinion piece argues for divestment from fossil fuel companies for both climate change and human rights reasons.

Letter to the Editor: Why You Should Support Political Neutrality AND Divestment | Reed College Quest

  • This letter to the editor asks, what if political neutrality is both an important regulative ideal for Reed’s proper functioning and no barrier to divesting, at least when properly applied?

Climate Panel Talks University Divestment Campaigns | Daily Targum

  • The Central Jersey Climate Coalition hosted a Divestment and Resistance panel, where coalition speakers and four panelists discussed divestment as a tactic for their causes.
 

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. Registration is now live, with early bird rates available! Provide input to shape the agenda here, or propose a session topic here before the EXTENDED October 11th proposal deadline!

Other Events:

Campus Sustainability Month | AASHE, October 2019

Agrifood Conversations | iSelect Fund, October 10, 2019, 3pm CT (webinar)

Color of Education Summit | Public School Forum of NC, The Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity, and Policy Bridge at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, October 26, 2019, Raleigh, NC

2019 AASHE Conference & Expo: Co-Creating a Sustainable Economy | AASHE, October 27-30, 2019, Spokane, WA

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

21st Annual Endowment and Foundation Forum | Opal, 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.

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

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

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