Weekly News Round-Up: November 2nd, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: November 2nd, 2018

Please find this week's news round-up below. 

Be sure to check out the key findings from the US SIF Foundation’s 2018 biennial Report on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends, released this week, which found that SRI assets now account for $12.0 trillion—or one in four dollars—of the $46.6 trillion in total assets under professional management in the United States. This represents a 38% increase over 2016.

We are also pleased to highlight a profile of The Crane Institute of Sustainability's (IEN's parent non-profit) Board Chair, Natasha Lamb, and her leadership work around shareholder engagement.

Additionally, we hope you will join us at the 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit in Tempe from Feb. 10-12, 2019. Register today!

Lastly, IEN is currently hiring a Program Administrator and   Membership Manager. Please help us find exceptional candidates by sharing these descriptions with your networks!

Have a great weekend,
Nicole

 

Nicole Torrico (formerly Harman)
Program Manager, The Intentional Endowments Network
www.intentionalendowments.org

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New IEN Member
 
Sustainable Investing by Institutional Asset Owner News

Pension Funds Point Finger at Lobbyists of Polluting Companies l Bloomberg

  • A group of pension funds that control $2 trillion is pushing for 55 large European energy, mining, and transportation companies to scale back their anti-climate lobbying. Sweden’s AP7, Legal & General Group Plc, the Church of England’s pension fund and Robeco of the Netherlands wrote to the chairman of each company, asking them not to use organizations that try to ease governments’ environmental rules and to be transparent about their own lobbying. The list of recipients includes 10 oil and gas companies such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA as well as Renault SA, Glencore Plc and Airbus SE.

More Institutional Investors Have ESG Policies In Place, Study Says l Environmental Leader

  • Global appetite for investment in commercial real estate remains strong, and ESG is playing a critical role, according to the annual Institutional Real Estate Allocations Monitor from Hodes Weill & Associates and Cornell University. This year, 39% of institutional investors have a formal ESG policy in place, up from 36% in 2017, the study found. Smaller investors are less likely than larger institutions to say such policies have an impact on their investment practices.

 Why Faith-Based Organizations are Shifting to Impact Investing l Knowledge @ Wharton

  • Faith-based organizations are increasingly investing in socially and environmentally responsible causes. A 2010 global study of faith institutions showed that 77% of 103 respondents practice impact investing. At the Franciscan Sisters of Mary, or FSM, a Roman Catholic group based in St. Louis, Mo., its CEO and CFO John O’Shaughnessy is finding that such impact investing also generates attractive returns.
 
New Reports

New Report Unpacks Why and How More Investments Can Unlock Big Potential For Refugees l Refugee Investment Network

  • The Refugee Investment Network (RIN) is the first impact investing and blended finance collaborative dedicated to creating long-term solutions to global forced migration. An initiative of the Global Development Incubator, the RIN has published its first major report: Paradigm Shift: How investments can unlock the potential of refugees, offering impact investors, grant-makers, and development finance professionals the first landscape of the what, why, who, where, and most importantly, how, of investing in and with displaced people.

Emerging Practice in Long-Term Plans: How CEOs Talk About The Long-Term l CECP

  • The information asymmetry between corporations and investors is particularly severe regarding long-term strategic plans: existing market infrastructure for disclosure is very short-term focused and underserves sources of long-term value creation. The CEO-delivered long-term plan gives corporations an opportunity to reorient disclosures to the long-term. Through feedback from institutional investors, this report has identified content elements essential to an effective investor-facing CEO-delivered long-term plan.

Why and How Investors Can Respond to Income Inequality l The Investment Integration Project (TIIP)

  • A new report by The Investment Integration Project (TIIP) and The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), Why and How Investors Can Respond to Income Inequality, addresses three areas that are key leverage points relevant to income inequality and material to long-term investors: employee relations and the structure of labour markets; corporate tax policies and practices; and levels of CEO compensation.

The Climate Accountability Scorecard (2018) l The Union of Concerned Scientists

  • This scorecard is an in-depth analysis of eight major fossil fuel companies, which finds they continue to spread climate disinformation and have failed to adequately plan their businesses for a low-carbon world.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Sustainable Investing Assets Reach $12 Trillion as Reported by the US SIF Foundation’s Biennial Report on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends l Associated Press

  • The US SIF Foundation’s 2018 biennial Report on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends, released this week, found that SRI assets now account for $12.0 trillion—or one in four dollars—of the $46.6 trillion in total assets under professional management in the United States. This represents a 38% increase over 2016.

We're Not Done With DAPL: How Investors Can Still Support Indigenous Rights l Forbes

  • Much of investor-organizing around DAPL was led by Rebecca Adamson at the direct request of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Rebecca is an indigenous economist and Cherokee advocate for indigenous rights since 1970. This interview with Rebecca is part of The Money Story series, and looks both backward at how the investor movement came together around DAPL, and forward to ways that people can still support ongoing work for indigenous rights both around Standing Rock and more generally.

The Asset Management Industry Is Getting More Concentrated l Institutional Investor

  • This article discusses how big asset managers continue to get bigger, a new study shows, with the top 500 fund managers in the world growing assets by 15.6 percent last year — the most significant increase since 2009.

ESG Investing in the Age of Transparency l Robo Global

  • We have entered an extraordinary age of transparency. For the first time in history, shareholders, customers, employees, and society as a whole are demanding that businesses make themselves 100% visible. The outside world is now seeking an open window into every aspect of operations, such as financial data, employee grievances, email communication, #MeToo scandals, and more. Included on that long and growing list is ESG, and this article discusses where to find ESG information.
  • The United Nations released a sobering report on climate change last month, stating that the Earth is warming faster than even scientists thought and that without far-reaching action, the planet is likely to warm to a dangerous level by 2040. This article highlights three ways to consider climate change as a criterion for making an investment.

Amazon is Investing Millions to Keep Packaging Out of Landfills l CNN Business

  • Amazon announced last week that it would invest $10 million in the Closed Loop Fund, joining other companies including Coca-Cola, Walmart, PepsiCo, and Unilever. Closed Loop invests in recycling programs, sustainable goods, and landfill reduction efforts. It does so through venture capital and impact investment funds designed to produce both financial and environmental returns. There's plenty of work to be done: The United Nations says about 300 million tons of plastic waste is produced every year, and global plastic production is expected to triple by 2050.

ESG Investing: The Temperature is Rising l Pensions Expert

  • This article highlights how, next year, UK law will mandate that trustees will be required to make public their policy on ESG considerations, to the extent that these may have a material impact on the financial performance of their scheme's investments.

Stocks of Ethical Companies Beat Their Benchmarks, Study Says l Barron's

  • Every year, JUST Capital surveys people on what it identifies as the ideal criteria for companies, including worker pay and well-being, customer treatment and privacy, beneficial products, environmental impact, job creation, strong communities, and ethical leadership. Now, the firm has examined how the companies in the index would have performed between January 2007 to September 2018. Over this period, it found that its index returned 10.4%, besting the Russell’s 8.7%.

More Private Markets Managers Incorporating ESG into Due Diligence — Survey l Pensions & Investments

  • Most managers in the private markets have begun incorporating ESG factors into their due diligence processes, said the results of a survey conducted by Makena Capital Management. In its second annual survey, the firm surveyed 154 private market managers on incorporating ESG factors into their investment activities and found a few key trends, outlined in this article.
 
Shareholder Engagement

Sustainable Finance’s Fierce Warrior l Financial Advisor

  • This article highlights the groundbreaking shareholder advocacy work of Arjuna Capital’s co-founder and managing partner, Natasha Lamb, who chairs the board of IEN's parent organization, the Crane Institute of Sustainability.
 
Green Bonds

SDG Bonds: Creating a World of Opportunity for Issuers and Investors l Pimco

  • This article discusses the UN Sustainable Development Goals and how they provide the investment community, including bond issuers, a framework for tackling long-term global challenges.
 
Investment Firm News
  • BlackRock said this week that sustainable investing is at a “tipping-point moment” as it unveiled a suite of seven sustainable core exchange-traded funds. The firm also launched new analytic tools for ESG-oriented, portfolios, which investors can use across the full range of BlackRock ETFs, not only those dubbed sustainable.
  • OpenInvest, the first digital investment advisor for socially responsible investing, announced today that it launched, "Divest from Dark Money," the first one-click way to invest in companies that prioritize political transparency. The Divest from Dark Money screen allows investors to divest from companies that fail to publicly disclose whether corporate funds are supporting or opposing any political campaign, and proactively invest in companies committed to disclosing their political and lobbying spending. 

Willis Towers Watson’s LifeSight Outlines new ESG Investment Strategy l Reinsurance News

  • LifeSight, Willis Towers Watson’s (WTW) UK defined contribution (DC) master trust, has outlined a new ESG investment strategy, which will see it allocate around half of the Equity investments within the default fund to ESG issues by Q4 2018. WTW said that this is the first master trust of its kind to make ESG a major part of the default fund, which is designed to improve outcomes for scheme members through increasing diversification and better risk-adjusted return scenarios.

Efficient Market Advisors Introduces Five New ESG ETF Strategies l Cision

  • Efficient Market Advisors (EMA), a Business of Cantor Fitzgerald Investment Advisors is pleased to announce the launch of five new ESG ETF strategies. The asset allocations of the new strategies will replicate EMA's traditional strategies, which have performance records dating back to 2004. The new strategies will implement EMA's portfolio views by investing in ETFs with high sustainability ratings.
 
General Endowment News

University of California’s Pensions, Endowments Drive Asset Outperformance l Chief Investment Officer

  • The University of California’s assets under management returned 8.1% in fiscal 2018, bringing its total value to $118.7 billion. The institution’s main drivers for the fiscal year, which ended June 30, were its $12.3 billion endowment and $66.8 billion pension fund, which returned 8.9% and 7.8%, respectively.
 
Climate Risk, Science, and Regulation

Climate Change Will Get Worse. These Investors Are Betting on It l Bloomberg

  • This article highlights the investment risks and opportunities that are likely to come to fruition in the near future as the climate continues to change. 

A Financial Tsunami has Reached America’s Farmers… But Not All in the Same Way l Oilseed and Grain News

  • A financial crisis has fallen on U.S. conventional and organic farmers alike … but for different reasons with a different impact. Conventional grain farmers have seen the prices for their corn and soybeans fall to the extent that many struggle to produce at a profit. With grain still in their bins from last year’s harvest and anticipating a fast approaching bumper crop this year, oversupply has, as it always does, driven down prices.

Investors are Missing a Key Populist Movement, AM CEO Warns l City Wire

  • Investors are distracted by short-term isolated events such as Brexit and Trump, and are not paying enough attention to the one factor that will affect markets the most going forward. That is according to Hermes Investment Management chief executive Saker Nusseibeh, who said that climate change is the biggest populist movement of all and will be at the center of future market shifts.
 
Fossil Fuel Divestment

Will Duke Divest From Fossil Fuels? Students Pushing for it May Soon Get an Answer l Duke Chronicle

  • After years of student action and campus dialogue on the issue, the question of whether Duke will divest its investments from fossil fuels may be answered soon. The Advisory Committee on Investment Responsibility is aiming to make a decision next semester on whether to recommend that Duke divest its endowment and other assets from fossil fuels, the chair of the committee said.

Scottish Conservative to Call on Pension Fund to Drop Investments in Oil l The Ecologist

  • Luke Graham, MP for Ochil and South Perthshire is the latest MP and the first Scottish Conservative to sign the Divest Parliament pledge. The pledge is calling for the MPs' Pension Fund to phase out its substantial investments in fossil fuel companies such as Shell and BP.  

Divest University of Kentucky Has Fought Against the Repurposing of Gas Pipeline l Kentucky Kernel

  • After two years of fighting, ecological organizations, schools, and civic bodies breathed a sigh of relief this month.  On Oct. 17, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners announced its intention to abandon the repurposing of a 75-year-old natural gas pipeline to carry natural gas liquids, byproducts of fracking that are used to produce plastics, solvents, and refrigerants. Divest UK is an on-campus student organization that started as a working group for UK’s Green Thumb and evolved this crusade into a commitment to support responsible and sustainable energy solutions. 

Fossil Fuel Shares Finding Fewer Takers l Catholic Register

  • Churches and Catholic institutions have begun trying to ease pressure on our planet by divesting from fossil fuels. By selling their pension-fund shares in oil, gas, and coal they create billions of dollars worth of incentive into using alternative energy sources. The global divestment movement, in which Catholics play a significant role, has pulled $6 trillion out of fossil fuels over the past decade. It has become one aspect of estate planning for a growing number of people.

Divest McGill’s Efforts Spurred by United Nations Report l McGill Tribune

  • Divest McGill held a rally this week during a meeting of the Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility, protesting McGill’s ongoing investment in companies involved with the fossil fuel industry. The demonstration comes after the McGill Senate approved a motion endorsing divestment from fossil fuels on Sept. 12, an institutional response several years in the making.

Vermont College Grapples With Student Pressure to Divest From Fossil Fuels l Energy News Network

  • The faculty of Middlebury College will vote this week on whether to support a student referendum calling for the Vermont school to divest investments in the fossil fuel industry from its more than $1.1 billion endowment. The vote comes weeks after students overwhelmingly passed a divestment resolution and then met with the school’s Board of Trustees to advocate for the move.

Penn Dismisses Second Major Fossil Fuel Divestment Proposal After First Round of Consideration l The Daily Pennsylvanian

  • The University Council Steering Committee dismissed Fossil Free Penn’s second official attempt to achieve, at least partially, fossil fuel divestment. After a failed attempt in 2015 to convince Penn to divest from all fossil fuels, the student group called on the University to divest from coal and tar sands, a specific type of fossil fuel, focusing its argument primarily on how Penn would benefit financially from divestment. 
 
Job Opportunities at IEN

Program Administrator

  • The Program Administrator will be a key member of the team and will support the management and growth of IEN. The Program Administrator will help coordinate events and meetings, collaborating with other IEN team members to support communications and marketing, and researching topics and contribute to writing reports related to sustainable investing at college and university endowments.

Membership Manager

  • The Membership Manager will be a key member of the team and will lead in the strategy development, management, and growth of IEN’s membership. The position encompasses leading both network growth (new members) and network engagement (current members) through outreach and relationship management and strategy development.
 
 
Calendar of Upcoming Events

Webinar: The Intersection of Financial Risk and Climate Resilience l Arizona State University, November 7, 2018, 1:15 p.m. ET

Endowment & Foundation Forum 2018 l Opal Group, November 13, 2018

RI Americas l Responsible Investor, December 5-6, 2018

2019 Foundation Leadership Forum l AGB, January 27-29, 2019, Fort Lauderdale, FL

2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit | February 10-12, 2019, Tempe, AZ

2019 Endowment and Debt Management Forum l NACUBO, February 13-15, 2019, New York, NY

 

 

 

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