Weekly News Round-Up: November 9th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: November 9th, 2018

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

Be sure to register for next week's IEN Webinar on Incorporating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Factors in the Investment Process, taking place on November 14th.

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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IEN in the News

More Universities Looking to Put ESG Stamp on Billion-Dollar Endowment Funds l S&P Global Market Intelligence

  • This article, which contains quotes from IEN Principal Georges Dyer, as well as IEN Member Hampshire College, highlights how a growing number of college endowments are exploring more holistic approaches to sustainable investing amid the strategy's rapid expansion across the U.S.

New Report from Intentional Endowments Network: Hiring an Investment Consultant l The Investment Integration Project (TIIP)

  • This blog post highlights a recent report from IEN that provides endowments looking to integrate ESG factors into their investments or align their investment strategy with their mission with practical guidance for selecting the right investment consultant for the task.
 
Sign-On Opportunities

Statement of Investor Commitment to Support a Just Transition on Climate Change

Investor Statement on Corporate Accountability for Digital Rights

  • Deadline: November 21, 2018

An Opportunity to Shape Future U.S. Capital Markets to Support a Sustainable Society

  • Deadline: November 15, 2018

2018 Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change

  • Deadline: November 15, 2018

 

More information on these opportunities is available on our Sign-On Opportunities page.

 
Sustainable Investing by Institutional Asset Owner News

Largest US Community Foundation Sees Opportunity Zone Program Role l Chief Investment Officer

  • A top official of the largest community foundation in the US, the $13 billion Silicon Valley Community Foundation, said his organization and others institutional investors may be able to play a role under the federal government’s opportunity zone program in providing loans for fund investments designed to help spur housing and business creation or expansion in economically depressed areas.

CalSTRS Divests from Prisons l Prison Industry Divestment Movement 

  • This week, after months of advocacy from teachers from Educators for Migrant Justice, Enlace and community organizations, the CalSTRS Board voted to divest from prisons. The vote came after activists pressured CalSTRS to complete a review of their investments during the summer. Last week CalSTRS released their report with findings, that set the stage for Wednesday’s crucial vote.
 
New Reports

US 2018 SIF Trends Report l The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment

  • The US SIF Foundation’s 2018 biennial Report on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends, released last 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 percent increase over 2016.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Historic Vote Sees Europe Paving the way for More Ethical Financial Investment l Global Witness

  • This week sees a historic vote in the European Parliament, which groups have said could pave the first step for a more ethical system of financial investment across the continent – and even globally. This vote was led by a cross party group of Member of the European Parliament (MEPs), including from the European People’s Party (EPP), Socialist & Democrats (S&D), the Group of the Greens, and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), demonstrating the EU’s commitment to sustainable investment and Parliament’s unified position.

American ESG Investing Reaches $12 Trillion Assets, Says US SIF Foundation l Environmental Leader

  • Investors in the United States consider ESG factors across $12 trillion of professionally managed assets, a new report from the US SIF Foundation concluded. That represents a 38% increase since 2016. This represents 26% — or 1 in 4 dollars — of the $46.6 trillion in total US assets under professional management.

New Standards Give Investors Uniform Data on ESG Criteria l Barron's

  • This article discusses how The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) has unveiled its first set of industry-specific accounting standards, outlining which issues are financially material for 77 industries.

Half of Asset Managers in Ireland Have Put Sustainability-Themed Strategy in Place - Study l Independent

  • More and more Irish based asset managers are putting in place sustainability-themed investment strategies in a bid to fight climate change, a new report has revealed. The report, commissioned by SIF Ireland and supported by Irish Life, surveyed Irish domiciled Asset Managers that collectively manage €77 billion worth of funds. It found that so-called ‘responsible investing’ is increasingly at the core of best-practice investment management in Ireland.

BIG Data: Getting Granular with ESG Factors l Traders Magazine

  • With the growth in sustainable investing, there’s been a surge in data on ESG factors over the past few years. In this article, FlexTrade examines where the uptake has moved to and where.

Miscarrying at Work: The Physical Toll of Pregnancy Discrimination l The New York Times

  • This article highlights the importance of good labor practices and human rights in the corporate supply chain when evaluating companies’ ESG performance, outlining how women in strenuous jobs lost their pregnancies after employers denied their requests for light duty, even ignoring doctors’ notes.

The Two Tools You Need to Measure Impact Investing Properly l City Wire

  • The task of measuring the true impact of responsible investing could be markedly improved by putting ‘engagement’ and ‘intentionality’ into core considerations. That is according to NN Investments Partners’ Jeroen Bos, who said analysts face a huge challenge when attempting to prove that impact investing is achieving both investors’ explicit aims and worthwhile returns.

Carbon Risks and ESG - Engage or Walk Away? l Wealth Manager

  • This article discusses the importance for fund managers to know when to engage and when to walk away, and shares some resources for evaluating carbon risks.

FCA Says 'Re-Clarification' of Active Investing is Coming l Financial Times

  • The rising popularity of ethical funds will lead to a deep change in what is considered active investing, according to the chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Speaking at an Investment Association conference at Mansion House yesterday (6 November), Andrew Bailey said the rise in interest in ESG products, and the separate rise in demand for passive investing, were not mutually exclusive.
 
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Gender Lens Investing

IEN Webinar: Incorporating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Factors in the Investment Process l Intentional Endowments Network, November 14th, 2018, 11:45 a.m. ET

  • This webinar will be a high level overview on how investors can incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) factors at various levels of the investment process. Panelists will introduce the basics of DEI, why DEI consideration is important, and the various ways an institutional investor can consider DEI issues.

Gender and Ethnic Diversity Make Impact Investing Profitable l U.S. News

  • Impact investing is hot and only getting hotter. From reducing the carbon footprint of your portfolio to fostering women's empowerment through gender diversity ETFs, investors are using their investment dollars to impact social and environmental change. While the moral argument for impact investing is obvious, this article discusses how investing in companies with diverse boards of governance and leadership teams is also good financial sense.

Opinion: 10 Reasons Gender Diversity Can Make You Money l Market Watch

  • This article highlights 10 ways that women boost the bottom line, referencing several external studies on gender lens investing.
 
Green Bonds

Netherlands Wants to Intro Sovereign Green Bonds in 2019 l Chief Investment Officer

  • The Netherlands looks to become the first AAA-rated issuer of green bonds, Wopke Hoekstra, its finance minister, announced in a Wednesday letter to parliament. Hoekstra said the nation would need to spend between $3.9 billion and $5.7 billion on green investments such as infrastructure, energy conservation, and sustainable energy development projects. The bonds are expected to be issued in 2019.
 
Shareholder Engagement

ESG Progress Following Investor Pressure l Money Marketing

  • Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil members will vote next week on bringing in stricter criteria for companies seeking RSPO certification. Earlier this year, more than 90 global institutional investors, including Aegon Asset Management, Aviva Investors or M&G Prudential, urged the RSPO to strengthen its draft certification standards.

Morningstar Slams Hidden Backers Behind Anti-ESG Campaign l Portfolio Adviser

  • Morningstar has slammed an anti-ESG group attempting to undermine shareholders’ rights by giving more prominence to board recommendations and management proposals as the US regulator reviews the proxy process. A preliminary agenda for a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) roundtable scheduled for 15 November will focus on the voting process, retail investor participation, and proxy advisory firms. Morningstar director Jackie Cook says the lobby group Main Street Investors Coalition, which states it represents retail investors but has many corporate backers, appears to have influenced the agenda, particularly on issues such as thresholds for filing and re-submission as well as the role of proxy advisory firms.
 
Investment Firm News

Capricorn and Particon Add EUR5m to Black Bear’s Growth Financing Round l Private Equity Wire

  • Cleantech company Black Bear has secured an additional EUR5 million from Capricorn Venture Partners and Particon, who join an earlier EUR11 million growth financing round.

Nuveen Is Prodding Smaller Companies to Hire Women as Directors l Barron's

  • Nuveen, the investment-management arm of TIAA, has written a variety of small companies that it owns to persuade them to add more women to their boards of directors. The move comes about a month after California passed a law to force publicly traded companies based in the state to include women on their boards.
 
General Endowment News

Louvre Fund Has Novel Way to Help Restore France's Old Monuments l Bloomberg

  • The Louvre Endowment Fund -- entrusted with the upkeep of one of the world’s oldest art collections -- has found a new way to generate returns so it can help restore France’s castles and churches. The Louvre museum’s $289 million investment fund has invested in a so-called impact fund that will help preserve historic buildings and environmental parks. Run by a Paris-based private-equity firm called Alter Equity, the fund is the third such fund the endowment has backed to invest in everything from education to jewelry and shoemakers in France.

Private, Public Equity Lead Asset Class Returns for Harvard l Pensions & Investments

  • Private equity and public equity were the only asset classes with double-digit returns in fiscal 2018 for Harvard University's $39.2 billion endowment. The endowment's returns per asset class for the fiscal year ended June 30 were 21% private equity, 14% equities, 9% real estate, 6% hedge funds, 1% fixed income, -1% other real assets and private debt, and -2% natural resources.
 
Climate Risk, Science, and Regulation

Britain Now Has More Green Capacity Than Any Other Power Source l Bloomberg

  • Green energy connected to Britain’s electricity grid increased to a record 42 gigawatts in the third quarter, giving it the largest share of the nation’s energy mix, according to Drax Electric Insights.

Washington State Carbon Tax Poised to Fail After Big Oil Campaign l CNBC

  • Washington state was heading towards rejecting a ballot initiative to create the first carbon tax in the United States, a tally of about 80 percent of votes showed early on Wednesday, after an oil industry campaign argued it would hurt the economy. The Carbon Emissions Fee and Revenue Allocation Initiative, known as Initiative 1631, would have imposed a $15 fee on each metric ton of carbon emissions, rising $2 a year until the state's 2035 emissions target is met.

Cancer-linked Chemicals Manufactured by 3M Are Turning Up in Drinking Water l Bloomberg

  • This article discusses Cottage Grove, Minnesota’s drinking-water panic, caused by traces of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (or PFAS), which don’t occur in nature,being found in the drinking water around the town, and the 3M company factory that produced them.

Cities Threatened by Climate Risk Still Getting AAA Bond Ratings 

  • Last fall, after a trio of deadly hurricanes, ratings companies warned vulnerable coastal cities to get ready for climate change -- or face higher borrowing costs on the $3.9 trillion municipal bond market. Climate advocates cheered, hoping the prospect of downgrades would push local officials to better protect their residents from the effects of global warming. Twelve months, two catastrophic storms and thousands of credit ratings later, those companies have yet to downgrade a single city because of climate change. The companies, which include Moody’s Corp. and Fitch Ratings Ltd., say that’s because cities are taking steps to protect themselves.

This is the 'Last Generation' That Can Save Nature, WWF Says l CNN

  • Global wildlife populations have fallen by 60% in just over four decades, as accelerating pollution, deforestation, climate change, and other man-made factors have created a "mindblowing" crisis, the World Wildlife Fund has warned in a damning new report. The total numbers of more than 4,000 mammals, bird, fish, reptile and amphibian species declined rapidly between 1970 and 2014, the Living Planet Report 2018 says.
 
Private Prison Divestment

New Harvard Student Campaign Calls on University to Divest From Prisons l The Crimson

  • Students called on Harvard to divest from the prison industry during the first public event held by the newly formed Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign Thursday evening. The event, hosted at the Law School’s Wasserstein Hall, featured students speakers addressing a near-capacity crowd of roughly 100. Hakeem Angulu '20 and Jackie Wang, a graduate student in African and African American Studies and author of "Carceral Capitalism," began the event by speaking about the history of the American prison system as well as racial disparities in conviction and incarceration rates.
 
Fossil Fuel Divestment

Reviving Divestment at Harvard l Harvard Political Review

  • This article outlines the history of the fossil fuel divestment movement at Harvard including various responses from the administration, and renewed student commitment to engaging around endowment investing.

Middlebury College Faculty Vote to Support Divestment l Diverse

  • Middlebury College faculty recently voted 86-7 to endorse the Student Government Association fossil fuel divestment bill, “Resolution to Divest Middlebury’s Endowment From Fossil Fuels”. During the discussion, some faculty members were concerned with the fiscal responsibility of divesting and how it could affect the school’s budget, according to the Middlebury Campus.

Cambridge University Zero Carbon Activists Disrupt Shell Annual Lecture l The Varsity

  • 19 members of the Cambridge Zero Carbon Society disrupted the Royal Dutch Shell annual lecture given by Andrew Brown, causing the lecture panel and audience to be relocated to an adjoining venue around 12 minutes into the lecture. Shortly after the lecture began, Brown – a member of Shell’s executive committee – was interrupted by Zero Carbon activists who managed to gain access to the lecture theatre.

NYU Divest Rallies For Transparency Within Potential Decarbonization Resolution l NYU Local

  • Ahead of a potential University Senate presentation for a decarbonization resolution, student activist groups rallied Thursday in the Global Center of Academic and Spiritual Life — where the University Senate has its meetings —and marched on to Washington Square Park. Led by NYU Divest and supported by the Incarceration to Education Coalition, NYU Asian American Political Activism Coalition, and the Roosevelt Institute, the groups aim to bring attention to Divest’s Decarbonize NYU campaign, which requests the university transition beyond emissions reductions to 100 percent renewable energy.
 
Job Opportunities at IEN

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.

Program Administrator

  • The Program Administrator will be a key member of the team and will support the management and growth of IEN through relationship management, delivering members services, sector research, event planning, scheduling calls and appointments, event planning, and database and website management.
 
 
Calendar of Upcoming Events

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

IEN Webinar: Incorporating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Factors in the Investment Process l Intentional Endowments Network, November 14th, 2018, 11:45 a.m. ET

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

Midwest Sustainable Investing Forum l Principles for Responsible Investment, December 10th, 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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