Weekly News Round-Up: December 14th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: December 14th, 2018

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

Today is the last day to register at the early-bird rate for the Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, taking February 10-12, 2019 in Tempe, AZ.

Have a great weekend,
Nicole

 

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

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New IEN Members
 
Sign-On Opportunities

Global Investor Engagement on Meat Sourcing

  • The FAIRR Initiative and Ceres have just launched a new investor engagement which is now open to new investor sign-ons:  The Global Investor Engagement on Meat Sourcing. The engagement will focus on six of the largest global restaurant chains, and will ask these companies to set, and report on, a clear strategy for how they are managing climate and water risks.  Companies included:   McDonald’s Corporation (MCD); Yum! Brands International  (YUM); Restaurant Brands International (QSR); Chipotle (CMG); The Wendy’s Company  (WEN);  Domino’s Pizza Inc (DPZ). Deadline for sign-on has been extended to January 18, 2019. More information is available on the FAIRR website here.

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

PRI invites investors to sign on to a statement committing to support a just transition on climate change. Investors can make an important contribution as stewards of assets, allocators of capital and as influential voices in public policy to make sure that the transition produces inclusive and sustainable development.

 

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

 
Sustainable Investing by Institutional Asset Owners

Gonzaga University Trustees Approve Socially Responsible Investment Strategy l Gonzaga University

  • The Gonzaga University Board of Trustees, at its Dec. 7 meeting, approved the recommendation of its Investment Committee to adopt a holistic, comprehensive approach to socially responsible investing. The action reflects the University’s concerns for social and environmental issues, and its Jesuit, Catholic and humanistic mission.

New York State Common to add $3 Billion to Sustainable Investment Program l Pensions & Investments

  • New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said Friday that the New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, would commit another $3 billion to its sustainable investment program, bringing the total to $10 billion.

Korean Sovereign Wealth Fund Hires Manager for First ESG Mandate, Adopts Responsible Investing Rules l Asia Asset Management

  • South Korean sovereign wealth fund Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) has hired a global asset manager for its first ESG mandate, and is bolstering its commitment to responsible investing with a set of investment rules related to corporate governance. The guidelines, called KIC Stewardship Principles, were developed internally and will guide it in exercising shareholder rights, including through proxy voting, KIC says in a statement on December 3.

Dutch Pension Fund Agrees to Release Climate Divestment Data l Government Accountability Project

  • After being challenged by Government Accountability Project, a large Dutch pension fund has walked back its prior refusal to release information on its divestment from high-level CO2emitters. Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn (PFZW), the tenth-largest pension fund in the world and the third largest in Europe, serves healthcare and social workers in the Netherlands. In November 2015, PFZW announced it would reduce its investments in fossil fuel companies. Spokesperson Maurice Wilbrink told Reuters the planned divestments were worth $1.9 billion, or about 0.7 percent of the fund’s total investments of $236 billion. 

Faculty of Public Health Divests From Fossil Fuels l Business Green

  • The Faculty of Public Health has become the latest medical organization to end its investments in fossil fuel companies. The member organisation. The professional body said its investments in fossil fuel companies were not compatible with its role to improve public health and wellbeing.
 
New Reports

Report Details Two-Year Initiative to Pioneer Approach to Influencing the Stability of Environmental, Social, and Financial Systems l The Impact Investing Project

  • Domini Impact Investments, a leading impact investing firm, has just released a report detailing their development of system-level approaches to managing the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. The report details the theory and genesis of this project, and the work that Domini carried out to improve system outcomes in eight areas of concern.

New Report Says Institutional Investors Are Making Room for Sustainable Investments l PR Newswire

  •  Bright Harbor Advisors, LLC thiw week released the 2018 Bright Harbor Global Limited Partner Sustainable Investing Report, which looks at the current perspective of global institutional investors on sustainable investing and primarily focused on the alternatives investments asset class. The Report is based on data collected from institutional investors from primarily Western Europe and North America with a combined equity allocation exceeding $500 billion. The Report sought to understand investors' views on returns, strategies and sectors with a particular focus on how institutions are set up to tackle the sustainable investment decision-making process and where they are in building out their capabilities.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

The Significance Of Investing In Opportunity Zones l Forbes

  • This article discusses Opportunity Zones, including how last month, the IRS released a set of regulations on Opportunity Zones, shedding light on the program, such as what qualifies as an opportunity fund, and other previously ambiguous requirements. 

‘There’s Never Been a Better Time to Look at Impact Investment’ - Sir Ronald Cohen l Your Story

  • In this article, Venture Capitalist and Private-Equity investor Sir Ronald Cohen speaks on impact investment and how it is the way forward for a better world.

World's Largest Asset Managers Loading Up On Thermal Coal Stocks l World Coal

  • In the wake of the IPCC's recommendations for drastic cuts in coal usage to prevent catastrophic climate change, new financial research from UK think tank InfluenceMap shows that the world's largest asset management groups – with a combined US$40 trillion in capital market assets – have increased the holdings of thermal coal reserves in their funds by more than 20% (with fund inflows accounted for) since the Paris Agreement.

Huge Investor Alliance Presses Global Acceleration of Paris Accords l Chief Investment Officer

  • The largest group of worldwide investors wants governments to quicken progress in battling climate change ahead of this week’s United Nations conference in Poland. The 415-member Investor Agenda, which collectively manages more than $32 trillion in assets, has signed the 2018 Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change, which urges world governments to commit to a greener earth in line with the Paris Agreement’s mission.

Green Money's 2019 Outlook l Green Money Journal

  • It is time to leave a challenging 2018 behind and look ahead to 2019. This annual Green Money issue is an "Outlook on the Year Ahead", along with a bit of reflection on what got us here. Your responses are welcome.

Impact Investing Needs Business Schools to Get on Board l Fin24

  • This article discusses how, if you speak to any fund manager or visit any of the (now) multiple, impact investing conferences, and a common theme will be that one of the main bottlenecks to the impact industry’s growth is human talent; the pool of future employees and executives who can read a financial statement as well as an impact report is simply too small.

How Investing In Regenerative Agriculture Can Help Stem Climate Change Profitably l Forbes

  • This article highlights how investing in regenerative agriculture has the potential to address not only the food supply but also climate change, peace and conflict resolution and the water supply to boot. This impact investing strategy could be the biggest lever for creating positive change available to investors today. It also appears to generate healthy financial returns.

Poor Company Disclosure Could Hamper U.N. Sustainability Goals: PIMCO l U.S. News

  • A United Nations plan to boost global development is at risk of failing to reach its goals because of poor data and target-setting by companies, the world's biggest bond investor said. The plan, known as the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aims to cut poverty, inequality and environmental degradation globally by 2030. But PIMCO said an analysis of disclosures from 240 firms which account for its biggest holdings of corporate debt showed that just 12 percent had quantitative targets based on the U.N. goals and only 6 percent reported on progress toward reaching them.

How Impact Investing Could Move from the Margins to Mainstream l Knowledge @ Wharton

  • In this article, Fran Seegull from U.S. Impact Investing Alliance and Jonathan Wong from UNESCAP discuss how an enabling policy environment would help to grow impact investing.
 
Stakeholder Engagement

University of Rochester Ethical Advisory Committee Ensures Responsible Investing l University of Rochester News

  • In response to a Students’ Association resolution, the University now has in place an Ethical Investment Advisory Committee (EIAC) comprised of student, faculty and staff representatives who help ensure that the University’s endowment excludes investments in companies that represent business, labor, social or environmental practices that are inconsistent with the University’s values. In collaboration with the Students’ Association, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee last year proposed creation of the EIAC, and the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees accepted its proposal.
 
Green Bonds

Columbia Issues First-Ever ‘Green Bonds’ to Fund Stormwater Improvements, Sustainability l Environmental Leader

  • The City of Columbia, South Carolina, is issuing its first-ever green bonds to improve its stormwater system; the $37.9 million in bonds – sold by Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co. (SCSCO) and certified by the Climate Bond Initiative – will be used to upgrade and improve the city’s stormwater system.
 
Shareholder Engagement

3 Ways Investors Can Make Their Views Heard on Environmental Issues l Market Watch

  • This author of this article shares her opinion that the best, and potentially most successful, way to address ESG issues is through shareholder engagement. While historically not wildly successful, recent research by The Conference Board and Rutgers Center for Corporate Law and Governance suggests that ESG shareholder initiatives may be gaining in popularity.
 
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Racial Justice: What’s Investing Got To Do With It? l Boston Common Asset Management

  • In this piece, Boston Common's Lisa Hayles shares four interconnected dimensions of Racial Justice investing, and discusses how greater diversity and inclusion in corporate leadership and Boards enhances a company’s culture and its profitability.
 
Sustainable Investing in Retirement Funds

Aligning Company Values With its Retirement Plans l GreenBiz

  • In the United States, about 54 million employees actively participate in a defined contribution, or 401(k), plan. Less than 1 percent of 401(k) plans offer some type of socially responsible fund. According to an Investment News article, in 2017, 401(k) investors committed more than $35 billion in impact investment funds. While this was up more than 58 percent from the previous year, it is still just scratching the surface.  The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is trying to better understand the barriers inherent in providing socially responsible funds in a company’s retirement plan and providing solutions to address them. Earlier this year, Aligning Retirement Assets (ARA) was launched to assist companies to better align retirement assets with their overall sustainability goals, including defined benefit and defined contribution plans.
 
Investment Firm News

Boston Common Asset Management, Leader in Responsible and Impact Investing, Joins Real Impact Tracker’s Certified Community of Fund Managers l Boston Common Asset Management News

  • This week,  Real Impact Tracker announced the addition of two leaders in responsible and impact investing to its Certified Community of Fund Managers:  Boston Common Asset Management and Praxis Mutual Funds.  Real Impact Tracker is a new tool to help investors find money managers that are committed to creating positive social and environmental benefits with their investments.

More ESG ETFs Are Here l Marketwatch

  • Exchange traded funds focused on ESG investing principles are growing at a modest clip, but that's enough to encourage issuers to bring more of these products to market. Deutsche Bank's DWS Group did just that Thursday, adding two ETFs to its ESG lineup.

FTSE Russell Extends ESG Across Asset  Classes l Markets Media

  • FTSE Russell, the index, data, and analytics provider has launched new green real estate indexes and is also aiming to introduce environmental, social and governance indexes in fixed income. This month FTSE Russell announced the launch of green indexes for the listed real estate sector.
 
Climate Risk, Science, and Regulation

Investment Risk in Carbon-Dependent Industries l MSCI

  • Institutional investors looking to reduce carbon-related risks in their portfolios have mostly focused on the carbon-intensive industries whose businesses are directly threatened by any increased regulatory pressures or market factors that could accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. But carbon-intensive businesses are only part of the picture. There are many other carbon-dependent industries which are affected by the business cycles of such industries. Institutional investors may want to look beyond the usual suspect carbon-intensive industries to better understand the end-to-end risks that exist.

In Another Blow to Keystone XL, Judge Rules TransCanada Can't Conduct Pre-Construction Work 

  • Opponents of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline—from indigenous and environmental groups to local farmers and ranchers—celebrated a win in court after a federal judge ruled on Friday that the fossil fuel giant cannot conduct pre-construction work on the pipeline until the full environmental review ordered last month is complete.

Tackling Climate Change Will Require ‘Transforming the Whole Economy’, Financiers Warn l Euractiv

  • The global economy has to prepare for a profound transformation in the coming decades as the impact of climate change becomes more tangible, Zurich insurance experts told EURACTIV.com. "Tackling climate change is about transforming the whole economy,” said Zurich Insurance Group’s Chief Risk Officer Alison Martin.
  • This article discusses how France’s suspension of a fuel tax increase after violent protests signaled the perils that governments in wealthier countries may face in setting policies to fight climate change.
  • In this opinion piece, John Kerry discusses how if we fail at addressing climate change, it won't just be the national government's fault -- and highlights the actions individuals must make to create change on a policy level.

Climate Change Could Sandbag Investment Portfolios In 2019 l Financial Advisor

  • 2019 may be the year climate change really begins to affect investments, says Jessica Ground, global head of stewardship at Schroders. Because of that, investors would be wise to pay attention to the possibilities when they put their money into particular projects or sectors, said Schroders, an asset manager based in London that focuses on sustainable investing.
 
General Higher Education News

UMass Dartmouth: Creating a 'Blue Economy' on the South Coast l UMass Dartmouth

  • In this piece, UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Johnson shares his views on the university's Blue Economy initiative with the Boston Business Journal.

Ecolab Foundation Commits $5 Million to Support Sustainability Research and Education at the University of Minnesota l University of Minnesota

  • Ecolab Chairman and CEO Douglas M. Baker, Jr., and University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler today announced a $5 million gift from the Ecolab Foundation to the University-wide Driven campaign, in support of environmental sustainability research and education. A cornerstone of the Ecolab Foundation gift is $2 million to establish an endowed chair for the Institute on the Environment.

Senators call on US News & World Report to Update Higher Ed Rankings l AASHE News

  • In this letter, senators call on US News & World Report to update higher ed rankings to give weight to social mobility, diversity, inclusion, and representation.

Global Networks of Higher Education Institutions call for Action on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals l Global University Network For Innovation

  • The Big Tent Consortium, a global network of universities and their community partners, has issued the Declaration on the role of Universities in the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as a call to action to its members on the role of universities in the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In the Declaration, they urge partners, networks, colleagues and peers to express their solidarity with this declaration by endorsing the statement.
 
Fossil Fuel Divestment

Harvard Faculty To Issue ‘Renewed Call’ For Fossil Fuel Divestment l The Crimson

  • Several Harvard faculty members will once again urge University administrators to divest the school’s holdings in the fossil fuel industry, according to an update on their website posted this month. The group, Harvard Faculty for Divestment, sent an open letter in April 2014 to former University President Drew G. Faust and the Harvard Corporation — the University’s highest governing body — calling on them to divest completely from companies that promote the use of fossil fuels. More than 270 faculty members had signed that petition, including some as recently as 2017, as of Saturday evening.

University of Michigan Stakeholders Express Hopes for Carbon Neutrality, #UMDivest l Michigan Daily

  • The University of Michigan Board of Regents’ meeting Thursday featured 15 public comment speakers, including U-M Ann Arbor and Dearborn students as well as alumni, faculty, and staff. The topics discussed included carbon neutrality, divestment from companies supporting Israel and the role of letters of recommendation in a political context.

48 Arrested at Yale Protest Over Fossil Fuel Investments l The Tribune

  • Yale University police have arrested 48 people who were protesting the Ivy League school’s investments in fossil fuel companies and its Puerto Rico debt holdings. The arrests came during a sit-in demonstration Friday inside Yale’s investment office as more than 300 students and community members rallied outside the building.
 
 
Calendar of Upcoming Events
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

Fundamentals of the Opportunity Finance Industry/Certificate in Community Development Finance Course l  Center for Impact Finance at the University of New Hampshire & Opportunity Finance Network, April 10-12, 2019, Durham, NC

 

 

 

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