Weekly News Round-Up: November 22, 2019

Congratulations to IEN Program Manager Nicole Torrico and the other winners of the inaugural 30 under 30 Award at last week’s SRI Conference! We are also thrilled to see that Bob Litterman, a member of the Board of IEN’s nonprofit home the Crane Institute of Sustainability, was named last week to Chair a new Climate-Related Market Risk Subcommittee of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Market Risk Advisory Committee.

Next week we’ll be taking a break from the Weekly News Round-up to pause and give thanks. But before the holiday weekend, we’ll share our quarterly newsletter with new resources and a recap of recent months’ activities.

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Summit Spotlight

Allegheny to Declare Climate Neutrality in 2020, Work Still to Come | Allegheny Campus

 

IEN in the News

Intentional Endowments Network: Working Toward A Sustainable & Regenerative Tomorrow | CleanTechnica

  • CleanTechnica profiles the network and gives an overview of endowment investing. Please share with colleagues who may be less familiar with our peer learning model - along with an invitation to join this vibrant network!
 

Opportunities for Action

Sustainable Retirements Survey | Intentional Endowments Network

  • As more employees raise questions about this issue, IEN is developing a new initiative - the Sustainable Retirements Initiative - to provide institutions with a better understanding of the barriers and opportunities to addressing these stakeholder demands, fulfilling their fiduciary duties, and increasing beneficiary participation in plans. This survey is an early step in gathering data to better understand this landscape. Individual responses will be kept confidential, and respondents will have access to the summary results.

Endowment Watch | Diverse Asset Managers Initiative

  • Higher education has been a sector of American economic society that fails to report on the demography of endowment fund managers. That’s why DAMI created Endowment Watch, a national campaign calling on universities to be transparent and intentional about who exactly is managing their assets. Join higher education institutions like Georgetown University in their efforts to track and report who manages their assets. Learn more about the Diverse Asset Managers Initiative here.

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

  • Deadline: TODAY, 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

Climate Science Research in the United States and U.S. Territories: Survey of Scientific Publications From Selected Public Universities (2014-2018) | NCSE

  • This report provides a snapshot of the scope and focus of climate science-related research by public research institutions. The National Council for Science and the Environment analyzed the research of 80 public institutions from all 50 states and found that they had produced 10,004 studies on the impacts of climate change on their regions between 2014 and 2018. This report serves to make locally-relevant climate scholarship accessible to decision-makers in a rigorous and nonpartisan manner.

Investing in Climate Change Mitigation | Business Wire

  • Athena Capital Advisors has released a landscape review that explores the impact that investors deploying capital in the electric power, transportation, industrials, and buildings sectors can have on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
 

Sustainable Investing By Institutional Asset Owners

Indiana University Health Creates Community Impact Fund with $100 Million Investment | WBIW

  • Indiana University Health has stepped up its commitment to make Indiana a healthier state by investing $100 million in a fund that will address critical health issues affecting Hoosiers over the long term. The newly established Community Impact Investment Fund will be administered by Indiana University Health Foundation, which will use income from the fund to award yearly grants to address social issues affecting health outcomes across the state.

France's ERAFP Introduces Climate Divestment Criteria | IPE

  • ERAFP, the French civil service pension fund, has adopted criteria for divesting holdings on climate change-related grounds as part of a move to align its socially responsible investment policy with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. The pension fund has not had a divestment policy or exclusion criteria before, sticking to a “best-in-class” approach with a focus on promoting more sustainable and responsible economic activity.

European Investment Bank to Phase Out Fossil Fuel Financing | The Guardian

  • The European Investment Bank has agreed to phase out its multibillion-euro financing for fossil fuels within the next two years to become the world’s first ‘“climate bank”. The bank will end its financing of oil, gas, and coal projects after 2021, a policy that will make the EU’s lending arm the first multilateral lender to rule out financing for projects that contribute to the climate crisis.

Georgia Bishop Commits 3 percent of the Diocese’s Endowment to Racial Reconciliation, Healing | Episcopal News Service

  • The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese Georgia announced he is committing 3 percent of the diocese’s unrestricted endowment to help form the St. Anna Alexander Center for Racial Reconciliation & Healing. Virginia Theological Seminary recently committed approximately 1 percent of its endowment toward racial reparations, and the Diocese of New York committed 2.5 percent of its endowment.
 

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Preqin Says Alternative Managers Lack Women in Leadership Roles | Pensions & Investments

  • According to new research from Preqin, women make up 19.7% of the alternatives workforce, an increase of only 0.9 percentage points since Preqin’s 2017 report. Women occupy less than 12% of senior roles in alternatives firms.

Wall Street Is Using Climate Resiliency as a New Risk Metric | Born2Invest

  • Climate change has always been hot button political topic but now Wall Street is beginning to sit up and take note. Companies increasingly need to prove that they have climate mitigation plans in place in order to obtain funding and shareholders are looking for sustainable investment options. It is rapidly becoming clear that climate change will forever alter the way that businesses find success.

CFA UK launches Certificate in ESG Investing | Investment Europe

  • Following a trial in September this year, the CFA UK is officially launching its Certificate in ESG Investing in December, which is expected to be launched in additional markets from 2020. 

Greta Thunberg's Warning Message Falls on Deaf Ears Across the ESG Investment Community | Forbes

  • In this opinion piece, Robert Sher of IEN member Greenbacker Capital argues too often, asset managers, investment boards and fund consultants seem to spend more time discussing how to measure things instead of trying to enact change. While measurement is undoubtedly necessary and proper for financial professionals, it should not become a replacement for doing the work of finding investments that actually make an impact.

Asset Managers Say They’re Into ESG. Their Product Descriptions Say Otherwise. | Institutional Investor

  • Research firm Cerulli Associates has found that while a growing number of U.S. firms have pledged to use ESG criteria in their investment processes, these criteria are rarely mentioned in official descriptions of their investment products.

Large Asset Owners Lauded for Pushing Sustainable Investing | Chief Investment Officer

  • A new study by Willis Towers Watson’s Thinking Ahead institute is highlighting the increasingly significant role large asset managers have in contributing to the well-being of humanity via sustainable investing practices. The institute argues that these investors, many of which are institutions, “have no choice but to take seriously their financial stakes and responsibilities and lead from the front.”
 

Shareholder Engagement

Learning and Action Opportunity: IEN Shareholder Engagement Working Group Call Monday, November 25, 2019, 3pm – 4pm ET

  • IEN's member-driven working groups meet regularly by phone to address shared opportunities and challenges. This month's Shareholder Engagement Working Group call will be open to non-members given the need for urgent action by asset owners. Join the call on Monday Nov. 25 online here or join by phone:  +1 929 205 6099 US (New York), Meeting ID: 299 397 379 Password: 021498.

Don’t Ask Larry Ellison About Women’s Pay at Oracle | Los Angeles Times

  • The biggest Silicon Valley companies have responded to complaints about unequal pay by disclosing the gaps between men and women doing similar work. But not Oracle Corp. The software giant’s board, led by founder Larry Ellison, 75, says it’s a waste of time and money because the company is already committed to equal pay for equal work. Heather Smith, the vice president of sustainable investing at Pax World Funds who’s pushing to make the figures public, isn’t buying it — and neither is a majority of Oracle’s outside investors.

Exxon’s Climate Trial Is Over, But the Legal War Is Just Beginning | Bloomberg

  • A dozen “public nuisance” lawsuits accuse fossil fuel giants of hiding, and denying, their knowledge of global warming.
 

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 the European Investment Bank dropping fossil fuel project financing, questions about public support for the SEC's proxy adviser overhaul, whales and climate, prospects for wind farms, and more.

ESG Notebook: How Companies Are Getting To Profitable Sustainability | Forbes

  • This article outlines the role of chief sustainability officers and the journey companies go through to improve sustainability - from compliance, to efficiency, to innovation.
 

Socially Responsible Retirement Funds

A 24-Year-Old Is Suing Pension Fund for Not Being Green Enough | Fortune

  • Mark McVeigh, a 24-year-old environmental scientist from Australia, won’t be able to access his retirement savings until 2055. But, concerned about what the world may look like then, he’s taking action now, suing his $39 billion pension fund for not adequately disclosing or assessing the impact of climate change on its investments.

Are 401(k) Plans in Danger of Not Being Green Enough? | Investment News

  • In light of the Australian lawsuit described above, this article looks at the legal implications of failing to address ESG concerns in U.S. retirement plans.
 

Community Impact Investing

Indiana University Health Creates Community Impact Fund with $100 Million Investment | WBIW

  • Indiana University Health has stepped up its commitment to make Indiana a healthier state by investing $100 million in a fund that will address critical health issues affecting Hoosiers over the long term. The newly established Community Impact Investment Fund will be administered by Indiana University Health Foundation, which will use income from the fund to award yearly grants to address social issues affecting health outcomes across the state.
 

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Princeton Draws Inquiry Over Efforts to Diversify Its Endowment Fund | Bloomberg

  • Princeton University was questioned by a congresswoman about the school’s efforts to include more diverse asset managers when investing its $26 billion endowment, the nation’s fifth-largest.

‘We Want to Find Gems’: the Black Venture Capitalists Invested in Change | The Guardian

  • Impact X, set up to support businesses run by or for minorities and women, is on its way to raising £100m. Its for-us-and-by-us approach has already attracted high profile investors from across the black community, including the comedian Lenny Henry, the actor Adrian Lester, and Uber board member Ursula Burns – the first black woman to run a Fortune 500 company when she served as the head of Xerox.
 

Gender Lens Investing

(Watch) ‘Pioneering’ Alumnae Convene at Yale School of Management | Yale School of Management

  • A trio of distinguished Yale School of Management alumnae, including Cambridge Associates Chairman Emeritus Sandra Urie, a member of the Board of IEN’s nonprofit home the Crane Institute of Sustainability, came together to reflect on the changing career landscape for professional women and on the pivotal role that Yale SOM played in shaping their own career paths.

Don’t Ask Larry Ellison About Women’s Pay at Oracle | Los Angeles Times

  • The biggest Silicon Valley companies have responded to complaints about unequal pay by disclosing the gaps between men and women doing similar work. But not Oracle Corp. The software giant’s board, led by founder Larry Ellison, 75, says it’s a waste of time and money because the company is already committed to equal pay for equal work. Heather Smith, the vice president of sustainable investing at Pax World Funds who’s pushing to make the figures public, isn’t buying it — and neither is a majority of Oracle’s outside investors.
 

Student Managed Funds & Sustainable Finance Curriculum

Divest Dartmouth Asks College to Disclose Limited Fossil Fuel Investments | The Dartmouth

  • While the College may still invest indirectly in fossil fuel companies, student group Divest Dartmouth is focusing its efforts on eliminating direct investment because they are easier to track. The group learned that the College’s Office of Investment does not actually directly invest in fossil fuel companies. Instead, the only significant manner in which the College directly invests in fossil fuel companies is through two student organizations — the Dartmouth Investment and Philanthropy Program and the Tuck Investment Club — which receive money from the College’s endowment for the purposes of practicing investment. 

Students Support Ethical Reinvestment of ASSU’s $1.2M Cardinal Fund, Focus Group Feedback Shows | Stanford Daily

  • The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) held focus groups with undergraduate students to discuss potential ethical investing strategies for the ASSU’s $1.2 million Cardinal Fund. Responses to a survey distributed at the focus groups revealed students to be generally supportive of this future shift. The Fund comprises 5%, or $1.2 million, of the ASSU’s total funds. The ASSU’s funds are currently used toward student organizations, ASSU business ventures and ASSU leadership operations, according to a slideshow presented at the focus groups.
 

Investment Firm News

Natixis’ Sustainable Investing Arm Raises €857m Fund for Renewable Energy Projects | Private Equity News

  • Mirova, the sustainable investing arm of French bank and IEN member Natixis, has raised €857m through its fourth fund, Mirova-Eurofideme 4, to invest in renewable energy projects in Europe.

Glenmede Announces Key Sustainable and Impact Investing Appointments | Business Wire

  • IEN member Glenmede, a privately held and independently owned investment and wealth management firm with $40 billion in assets under management, has appointed Mark Hays as Director of Impact & Sustainable Investing and John Church as Director of Endowment & Foundation Impact Portfolio Management, continuing Glenmede’s long-term commitment to impact and sustainable investing.

Green Century Funds President Named SRI Service Award Winner | CSR Wire

  • The 30th Annual SRI Conference announced that Leslie Samuelrich, president of Boston-based Green Century Capital Management, is the 2019 winner of the SRI Service Award.

‘We Want to Find Gems’: the Black Venture Capitalists Invested in Change | The Guardian

  • Impact X, set up to support businesses run by or for minorities and women, is on its way to raising £100m. Its for-us-and-by-us approach has already attracted high profile investors from across the black community, including the comedian Lenny Henry, the actor Adrian Lester, and Uber board member Ursula Burns – the first black woman to run a Fortune 500 company when she served as the head of Xerox.

Three Funds Tapping into Sustainable Food Trends | Portfolio Advisor

  • IEN Steering Committee member Maria Lettini of the FAIRR Initiative shares examples of three funds that have focused on issues around sustainable food, from RobecoSAM, Pictet, and BNP Paribas.

Boring No More: Agriculture and Food Investing Gets a Sexy New ETF | Benzinga

  • Defiance ETFs, the firm behind such funds as the Defiance 5G Next Gen Connectivity ETF and the Defiance NextGen Video Gaming ETF, added to its lineup Thursday with a more compelling avenue for investing in agriculture and food equities. The aptly tickered DIET follows the BlueStar Food and Agriculture Sustainability Index.

S&P Global to Acquire the ESG Ratings Business from RobecoSAM | S&P Global

  • S&P Global will acquire the ESG Ratings Business from RobecoSAM which includes the widely followed SAM* Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) – an annual evaluation of companies' sustainability practices. The CSA is recognized as one of the most advanced ESG scoring methodologies, as it draws upon 20 years of experience analyzing sustainability's impact on a company's long-term value creation.
 

Economic & Policy Shifts

CFTC Commissioner Behnam Announces Members of the Market Risk Advisory Committee’s New Climate-Related Market Risk Subcommittee | U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission

  • U. S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Commissioner Rostin Behnam today announced the members of the new Climate-Related Market Risk Subcommittee (Climate Subcommittee) of the CFTC’s Market Risk Advisory Committee (MRAC). Commissioner Behnam is the sponsor of the MRAC. Bob Litterman, founding partner and Risk Committee Chairman of Kepos Capital, will chair the 35-member Climate Subcommittee, and is a member of the Board of IEN’s nonprofit home, the Crane Institute of Sustainability. Ceres CEO and President Mindy Lubber will also serve on the Subcommittee.

Petraeus: Saudi Arabia Is Running Out of Money | Chief Investment Officer

  • Saudi Arabia is in the throes of a fiscal crisis that is leading the country on a search for new revenue, including an upcoming initial public offering for Aramco, its sovereign oil company, former CIA chief David Petraeus told CNBC.

How Fossil-fuel Allergy Impacts Shipping-stock Returns | American Shipper

  • Global fund flows are pouring rapidly into “virtue” stocks that “help the planet” and away from “vice stocks,” including anything to do with fossil fuels. Shares of tanker companies carrying oil and gas and dry bulk companies carrying coal are seen as squarely in the vice zone, which could put downward pressure on stock prices but spur high dividend yields if freight rates rise, according to speakers at the Marine Money forum in New York.

U.S. Electric Bus Demand Outpaces Production as Cities Add to Their Fleets | Inside Climate News

  • As cities and states across the country set ambitious mid-century climate change goals for the first time and as prices for lithium-ion batteries plummet, a growing number of transit agencies are stepping up efforts to replace dirtier diesel buses with electric ones.

Tesla's Difficult Path to Profit in Six Charts | Reuters

  • Tesla Inc’s shares sky-rocketed after the electric car maker surprised investors with a rare quarterly profit, and delivered a record number of cars while keeping a lid on costs. Read about Ford’s new electric SUV, a new Mustang, set to compete with Tesla.
 
 

Climate Risk, Science, and Clean Energy

Climate Whiplash: Wild Swings in Extreme Weather Are on the Rise | Yale Environment 360

  • As the world warms, scientists say that abrupt shifts in weather patterns — droughts followed by severe floods, or sudden and unseasonable fluctuations in temperature — are intensifying, adding yet another climate-related threat that is already affecting humans and the natural world.

Report: Climate Change Threatens U.S.’s Most Hazardous Sites | U.S. News & World Report

  • Hundreds of sites hold some of the nation's most hazardous materials - at least 945, or 60% of all Superfund sites - are threatened by climate change, according to findings from the nonpartisan watchdog arm of the federal government.
 
 

General Higher Education Endowment News

College Closures and the Cost to Consumers | Inside Higher Ed

  • The co-founders of Edmit discuss their efforts to release a modeling tool they created by using publicly available data to project how many years private colleges have until they could run out of money and close, as well as the pushback from schools who disagreed with the methodology and process.

College Endowment Tax Will Cost Bowdoin Over $700,000 This Year | Bowdoin Orient

  • With an endowment valued at over $1.74 billion—approximately $900,000 per student—Bowdoin will be one of over 40 private colleges and universities impacted by the new tax introduced within the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. For the fiscal year 2018-19, this means around a $700,000 tax on the net returns.
 

General Higher Education Sustainability News

Allegheny to Declare Climate Neutrality in 2020, Work Still to Come | Allegheny Campus

Columbia University Extinction Rebellion Announces Week-long Hunger Strike | Columbia Spectator

  • Extinction Rebellion Columbia University, a climate activism organization, announced the start of a hunger strike beginning Monday in a letter delivered to University President Lee Bollinger that morning. The letter outlined that unless the University agrees to its demands for a more sustainable campus, the group’s strike would continue until Nov. 22.
 

Fossil Fuel Divestment

University of California Divestment | Technician

  • In this Op-ed, a North Carolina State University student discusses the recent fossil fuel divestment decision by the University of California system and urges NC State to divest.

The Ethics of Endowments | The Oredigger

  • This opinion piece argues for the Colorado School of Mines Foundation to incorporate sustainable investing strategies and divest from fossil fuels.

Hundreds Join Walkout for Fossil Fuel Divestment | McGill Tribune

  • Gathered around the snowy steps of the McGill Community Square on Nov. 12, over 200 students and faculty took part in a walkout calling for the university to divest from fossil fuels. The protest was co-organized by Divest McGill, Greenpeace McGill, and Climate Justice Action McGill.

Creighton University President Rejects Student Recommendation to Divest from Fossil Fuels | National Catholic Reporter

  • Creighton University will not divest from fossil fuels, as the Jesuit school's administration declined to act on a non-binding referendum supported by 86% of the student body. Read more about the divestment movement at Creighton here.

5C Student Activists Push Pomona College to Divest from Funds Tied to Fossil Fuels | The Student

  • Student activists have rekindled the Claremont Colleges’ fossil fuel divestment movement this semester and are focusing their attention on pressuring Pomona College to divest its endowment from fossil fuel interests.

Looking to a (Re)New Wellesley | The Wellesley News

  • The student organization Renew Wellesley is currently working on a proposal that advocates for Wellesley to “ethically and responsibly” divest its endowment from the fossil fuel industry. They also urge the school to invest in industries that do not pose harm to the student body or marginalized groups such as private prisons or pharmaceuticals. The demand comes on the heels of other colleges and universities, such as Smith College and the University of California system, that have recently announced plans for divestment.

Divest Dartmouth Asks College to Disclose Limited Fossil Fuel Investments | The Dartmouth

  • While the College may still invest indirectly in fossil fuel companies, student group Divest Dartmouth is focusing its efforts on eliminating direct investment because they are easier to track. The group learned that the College’s Office of Investment does not actually directly invest in fossil fuel companies. Instead, the only significant manner in which the College directly invests in fossil fuel companies is through two student organizations — the Dartmouth Investment and Philanthropy Program and the Tuck Investment Club — which receive money from the College’s endowment for the purposes of practicing investment.

Confused About Board’s ‘Divestment’ Decision? | The Mac Weekly

 

Partnership Opportunities
 
Calendar of Upcoming Events

IEN Events:

IEN Shareholder Engagement Working Group Call | IEN, November 25, 2019, 3pm – 4pm ET. Join the call online here or join by phone:  +1 929 205 6099 US (New York), Meeting ID: 299 397 379 Password: 021498.

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! 

 

Other Events - December 2019:

Including People with Disabilities in Nonprofits and Foundations: Accessibility & Equity Webinar Series | RespectAbility, December 4, December 11, January 7, January 9, January 15, all 1:30pm ET (webinars)

RI New York | Responsible Investor, December 4-5, 2019, New York, NY. IEN asset owner members are eligible for a complimentary pass using discount code RINY19AO.

Managing Climate Risks Forum | CleanTechIQ, Impax Asset Management and MSCI, December 10, 2019, San Francisco CA. Complimentary admission is given to asset owners (pensions, foundations, SWFs, endowments), investment consultants & family offices - please contact us to register at info@cleantechiq.com.

Are We Feeding Ourselves Thirsty? | Ceres, December 10, 2019, 12pm EST (webinar)

 

2020 Event Preview:

GreenFin Summit at GreenBiz 20 | GreenBiz, February 4-6, 2020, Phoenix, AZ, IEN Members can use Discount Code GB20IE to receive 10% off registration. 

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! 

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

Investor Summit on Climate Risk and Ceres Conference | Ceres, March 23-26, 2020, New York, NY

Croatan Forum 2020 | Croatan Institute, April 27-29, 2020, Durham, NC. The Scholarship Application for the 2020 Croatan Forum is now online.  Learn more about the scholarships here, or you can make a donation to support an applicant here.  

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