Weekly News Round-Up: January 11th, 2019


Weekly News Round-Up: January 11th, 2019

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

There's still time to register for the Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, taking place February 10-12, 2019 in Tempe, AZ. 

The Summit is the premier event for college and university presidents, chancellors, trustees and endowment leaders focused on climate leadership by higher education. It is an opportunity to celebrate progress, and explore ways to scale local action to meet global goals by working across institutions and across sectors. We hope you will join us!

Have a great weekend, 


Nicole Torrico (formerly Harman)
Program Manager, The Intentional Endowments Network

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Sign-On Opportunities

Global Investor Engagement on Meat Sourcing

  • This engagement effort, launched by The FAIRR Initiative and Ceres, will focus on six of the largest global restaurant chains (McDonald’s Corporation, Yum! Brands International, Restaurant Brands International, Chipotle, The Wendy’s Company, and Domino’s Pizza Inc), and will ask these companies to set, and report on, a clear strategy for how they are managing climate and water risks. 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.

New IEN Members
IEN in the News

Arnerich Massena Becomes an Intentional Endowments Network Member l Oregon Business

  • Portland-based investment firm Arnerich Massena has joined the Intentional Endowments Network (IEN), which supports colleges and universities, and other mission-driven tax-exempt organizations in enhancing financial returns by aligning their endowment investment practices with their mission, values, and sustainability goals. Now a member of the IEN, Arnerich Massena will provide thought leadership and act as a resource for higher education institutions seeking to incorporate impact strategies such as sustainable and ESG investing into their endowment portfolios.
Sustainable Investing by Institutional Asset Owners

San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System Becomes Major ESG Force l Chief Investment Officer

  • The San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System (SFERS) has gone from a bit player to a major force among US pension plans in making investments using factors such as sustainability and advocating that companies in its portfolio be better corporate citizens by reducing emissions. Specifically, the $24.4 billion pension system's board approved a limited divestment plan last fall to divestment of five fossil fuel companies if they don’t transition to cleaner energy companies.

Ireland Strategic Investment Fund’s Sale of Interests in Global Fossil Fuel Companies Leads the Way in Green Thinking l Ireland Strategic Investment Fund 

  • Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, and Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Michael D’Arcy TD, have this week welcomed the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) announcement of its divestment from 38 global fossil fuel companies. The total value of the divestment is €68m. 

Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence Divests From Fossil Fuels l Daily Hampshire Gazette

  • Less than five years after passing a resolution to sell off all its investments in fossil fuels, the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence has achieved its goal. Society officials said the organization has completely divested its endowment holdings in the top 200 fossil fuel companies nine months before their August 2019 deadline.

AIIB to Promote Asian Green Investment With $500M ESG Fund l CGTN

  • The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) announced Wednesday plans for a 500-million-U.S.-dollar fund for infrastructure development in emerging Asian markets, with the aim of promoting green and sustainable investments in the region. After receiving approval from the AIIB board of directors, the AIIB Asia ESG Enhanced Credit Managed Portfolio will focus on infrastructure-related bonds, and compliment the bank's green values.
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink Says Within The Next 5 Years All Investors Will Measure a Company's Impact on Society, Government, And The Environment to Determine Its Worth l Business Insider

  • BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said at the New York Times Dealbook Conference on Thursday that within five years, all investors will be using ESG metrics. In January, Fink wrote in his annual letter to CEOs that all companies must outline their purpose. Fink explained his prediction is based on a demand from consumers and employees.

Barron's Funds Quarterly

This issue of Barron's Funds Quarterly has several articles on sustainable and ESG investing, history, ratings for various funds, and insights from leaders in the space. Articles from the issue are as follows:

How Green Wall Street Can Weather 2019 l Bloomberg

  • A new era of volatility will test the SRI investors, as well as the theory that socially responsible strategies can weather downturns better than conventional strategies. Along with the effect of overall market volatility, socially responsible investors are looking for answers to nine other big questions outlined in this article for the coming year.   

Fitch Ratings Focuses on ESG Standards with New Scoring System l Chief Investment Officer

  • Fitch Ratings is launching a new scoring system that will incorporate ESG factors into the ratings of each individual entity the credit ratings agency grades. The new ESG Relevance Scores aim to “transparently and consistently display both the relevance and materiality of ESG elements to each respective rating decision,” according to a report from Fitch.

Impact Investing and Socially Responsible Investment: Complementary Approaches l Lombard Odier

  • Ethical investment, sustainable investment, socially responsible investment and impact investing: this multitude of terms denotes different approaches to a powerful transformation of finance in an effort to shape a more sustainable economy. This article concentrates on the concepts of impact investing and socially responsible investment.

Here's Why TPG Turned Down Vaping Startup Juul l Fortune

  • One of the world’s largest private equity firms, TPG, is steering clear of Juul, despite an existing relationship with the e-cigarette maker’s CEO, Kevin Burns. The comment comes as Juul has seemed to reel in major investors at the same pace it has attracted vehement critics in recent months. Juul’s detractors claim the e-cigarette company markets toward minors and understates the addictiveness of its goods.  “TPG does not invest in tobacco products. JUUL is regulated as a tobacco product and therefore didn’t meet our ESG standards as an investment,” stated a TPG spokesman.

Finance as a Force for Good l Insead Knowledge

  • This article highlights how sustainable investing, previously a niche specialization, has become increasingly commonplace in recent years. Globally, more than a quarter of professionally managed assets are now invested according to ESG principles.

Cheapest ESG ETF Portfolio Gets Cheaper l ETF.com

  • Last year, ETF.com put together the "World's Cheapest ESG ETF Portfolio," a socially responsible twist on former ETF.com CEO Matt Hougan's regular feature, in which he built a broadly diversified portfolio using the least expensive U.S.-listed ETFs in each of six asset classes. The Cheapest ESG ETF Portfolio, which cost just 0.21%, wasn't supposed to be an investable guide. Rather, it served as a yardstick to gauge how the fee wars have impacted environmental, social and governance funds, which historically have cost more than conventionally structured ETFs. This year, the overall cost of the Cheapest ESG ETF Portfolio is 0.167%.
Investment Firm News

Sustainalytics Buys GES International l Pensions & Investments

  • ESG research firm Sustainalytics has acquired GES International, a Stockholm-based global provider of engagement, screening and fiduciary voting services to institutional investors.

Former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown to Advise Private-Equity Firm l Wall Street Journal

  • Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is following the well-trodden path from politics to private equity. Mr. Brown, who served in the role from 2007 to 2010, will advise Switzerland’s Partners Group on so-called impact investments, which the firm says can produce measurable social and environmental change as well as financial returns. Partners Group is one of Europe’s largest private-equity firms, with €67 billion ($77 billion) under management. 

ESG Provider ISS Acquires Strategic Insight, Owner of CIO l Chief Investment Officer

  • Corporate governance and responsible investment solutions provider Institutional Shareholder Services has acquired investment data firm and publisher Strategic Insight, which owns Chief Investment Officer. Both companies are owned by Genstar Capital, a private equity company.
Climate Risk, Science, and Regulation
  • A new analysis, published Thursday in the journal Science, found that the oceans are heating up 40 percent faster on average than a United Nations panel estimated five years ago. The researchers also concluded that ocean temperatures have broken records for several straight years.

171 Years Before Tesla: The Evolution of Electric Vehicles l Bloomberg

  • In 1900, electric cars accounted for about one-third of all vehicles on U.S. roads -- and then almost disappeared from the landscape as gasoline-engine models took over. By 2040, more than half of all new cars worldwide will be powered only by batteries, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates. Here’s a look back at the evolution of the electric vehicle.

The State's Emissions Declined 2.5 Percent In 2016. They're Now 21 Percent Below 1990 Levels l WBUR

  • Greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts declined 2.5 percent in 2016 from the year before, putting the state a bit closer to its 2020 emissions-reduction goal. The estimated 2016 total is about 21 percent below emissions levels in 1990, the state's baseline. (2016 is the latest year for which data are available.) Massachusetts' goal, outlined in 2008's Global Warming Solutions Act, is to reduce emissions 10 to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

A PG&E Bankruptcy Would Leave Utility in Turmoil for Years l Bloomberg

  • This article discusses how, while the lights would stay on if California utility giant PG&E Corp. files for bankruptcy, the company, its customers, and investors would be set for years of uncertainty.

10 Reasons to Feel Hopeful About Climate Change in 2019 l Sierra Club

  • In 2018, hurricanes, floods, fires, and droughts wreaked a level of destruction on the planet that, according to scientists, is just a taste of what is to come. In October, the IPCC issued a report stating that we have about 12 years to avoid catastrophic climate change. Meanwhile, global greenhouse gas emissions reached a record high in 2018. This article focuses on 10 solution-oriented developments to give hope around mitigating climate change.
General Endowment News

Endowments and Foundations Are Facing a Conundrum l Institutional Investor

  • This article discusses how, based on their asset allocations, most small endowments and foundations would have seen losses far greater than they say is acceptable, according to a CAPTRUST survey.

Endowment Managers Don’t Expect Much In 2019 l The Non-Profit Times

  • Almost half of those surveyed in the year-end 2018 survey by NEPC’s Endowments & Foundations Practice Group expect domestic equities to be relatively flat in 2019 and 38% of respondents expect domestic equities to “taper off a little, but still return in the mid-to-high single digit range.”
Private Prison Divestment

30+ A-List Celebs And Athletes Will Divest From Private Prison Investments l Forbes

  • This article discusses Real Money Moves, a new initiative aimed, in part, at divesting from private prison investments, organized by Candide Group, an Oakland, Cal.-based impact investment advisory firm with a focus on social justice.
Fossil Fuel Divestment

Sovereign Fund Steps Away From its Fossil Fuel Investments l The Times

  • Ireland’s sovereign development fund has divested all interests in fossil fuel-related investments. The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund said that in doing so it was freeing up €68 million in investment potential.

Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Should Divest in Fossil Fuels, Embrace Renewable – Report l Pensions & Investments

  • The world's largest sovereign wealth fund should divest from oil and gas exposure and should be permitted to invest 5% of assets in renewable energy infrastructure, a think tank states. The report cited a 2017 recommendation by the fund's asset manager, Norges Bank Investment Management, to divest from oil and gas stocks. 

Fracking: Divest to Invest l Public Sector Executive

  • In this article, Deirdre Duff, divestment campaigner at Friends of the Earth, takes a look at local authorities’ role in fracking.

Fossil Fuel Divestment For a Zero Carbon Future: Conference for Religious l Independent Catholic News

  • On February, 14th Mount Street Jesuit Centre in London is hosting a conference for religious to find out more about how Catholic institutions are responding to the urgent call on climate change launched by Pope Francis in Laudato Si'. The conference will provide an opportunity to learn more about fossil fuel divestment and how religious can get involved in supporting the clean energy transition to ensure a brighter, cleaner future for everyone. It will also be a chance to find out more about joining the next Catholic divestment announcement in May 2019.
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

9th Annual Practitioners Gathering - Truth and Transparency l Confluence Philanthropy, March 4-7, 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

Total Impact Philadelphia 2019 l Total Impact, May 1-2, 2019, Philadelphia, PA 




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