Weekly News Round-Up: January 13th, 2017

New IEN Member 
Upcoming Events
 
Webinar: KnowTheChain Benchmarking Findings l IENJanuary 19, 2017, 2:30-1:30pm ET
  • Benchmarks can play a powerful role in encouraging companies to uphold labor standards and protect workers’ rights. In 2016, KnowTheChain, a resource for businesses and investors to address forced labor abuses and human trafficking within their supply chains, benchmarked 60 large global companies on their efforts to address these risks. In this webinar, we will review the 2016 KnowTheChain benchmark findings and discuss how forced labor and human trafficking risks affect investors and can be addressed in their portfolios.
2017 Presidential Climate Leadership Summit | Second Nature, February 13-15, 2017, Tempe, AZ
  • This Summit celebrates the 10th anniversary Second Nature's Climate Leadership Network (formerly the ACUPCC). It is designed for campus sustainability teams, including specialized content for presidents, faculty, staff, and endowment professionals. IEN members will be delivering a plenary panel on factoring climate and sustainability considerations into the endowment investment process; and IEN will be hosting a half-day workshop on endowment investing. 
Webinar: 2017 ESG Trends to Watch | MSCI, January 24, 2017, 11:00a.m. ET
  • This year may usher in a fundamental rethink for investors. Underlying all the major trends we identified for 2017 is a strategic decision point – do we change the way we think about investing, or is this business as usual in a new order? Join the authors of the 2017 ESG Trends to Watch Report, including MSCI’s Global Head of ESG Research Linda-Eling Lee, for an overview of the biggest ESG forces affecting institutional investors over the long haul
Webinar: The 100 Most Overpaid CEOs 2017 | As You Sow, February 13, 2017, 2:00 p.m. ET
  • Join As You Sow’s Rosanna Landis Weaver and other leading compensation experts as they examine CEO pay through their upcoming report, The 100 Most Overpaid CEOs: Are Fund Managers Asleep at the Wheel? 
 New Resources
 
  • In Laudato Si, Pope Francis called on the Catholic community to recognize the urgency in addressing the climate change crisis that is looming.This report explores the Catholic community’s response to Laudato Si, specifically how institutions have changed their investing policies.
Sustainable / ESG Investing
 
Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance
  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how investors looking to lower their impact on the planet may find that some funds labeled as "fossil fuel free" won't reduce their carbon footprint by as much as they hope, as well as the top environmental and climate policy outlooks around the world; how the Japanese are slowly embracing governance reforms; and how your mutual fund voted on climate change in 2016.

ESG in 2017: A Fundamental Rethink? l MSCI

  • This blog post highlights a new report from MSCI that explores the biggest ESG forces affecting institutional investors in 2017 and how they will affect the capital markets for the next decade.
4 Sustainable Investing Myths, Debunked l GreenBiz
  • In this article Elizabeth Lewis discusses the four most common myths WRI encountered when researching their new paper, "Navigating the Sustainable Investment Landscape." Their research included interviews with 115 investment professionals — including asset owners with $1.26 trillion under management — and they found that the prospects for sustainable investing are strong and overcoming key roadblocks will help the market reach a tipping point.

Graphic: ESG's Path l Pensions & Investments

  • This article highlights graphics that display the growth of ESG assets in the U.S., the dispersement of ESG assets by category focus, the percentage of ESG assets invested by sector, and comparable returns. 
ESG Factors Making Gains in Fixed-Income Portfolios l Pensions & Investments
  • Sources at consultants and money management firms said they are seeing increased interest from institutional investors in integrating ESG factors into fixed-income portfolios — something they are surprised has taken so long. Managers already integrating ESG factors into their fixed-income processes said they are also seeing increased inflows.
Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Jack Ma are Betting Big on This Sector l CNBC
  • One of every five dollars invested in the U.S. today targets sustainable investments, and , private capital is flowing there too. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma and other tech titans recently committed $1 billion to launching a new, low carbon energy fund. Warren Buffett's company is busy investing in new solar and wind energy projects, including the world's largest solar plant. And 84 major corporations have pledged to source 100 percent of their energy from renewables going forward.
  • According to a 2016 survey conducted by the GIIN, more impact investors – a third of all respondents – plan to boost investment in food and agriculture than in any other sector.
Shareholder Engagement
 
Is Your Mutual Fund Company Taking Climate Change Seriously? | Ceres
  • Ceres examined how the nation’s largest mutual fund companies voted on climate-related shareholder resolutions in 2015 and 2016. While the majority voted in favor of many climate-related resolutions, a number of the largest firms failed to support any of the resolutions, including big-name players such as American Funds, BlackRock, Dimensional, Fidelity, Pioneer, Putnam, and Vanguard. These firms collectively manage trillions of dollars in assets, and their support of climate resolutions could contribute to majority votes for some resolutions – resulting in enormous pressure on companies to disclose their plans for addressing wide-ranging climate-related risks.
  • Once again this year, dissident ExxonMobil stockholders have filed several resolutions with the company asking it to be more forthright in addressing the climate crisis. Submitted months before Exxon's annual meeting in May, by a twist of fate it has also helped set the stage for the senate confirmation hearing of Rex Tillerson, Exxon's former chief executive and Donald Trump's pick to become secretary of state.
  • More than 530 companies and 100 investors – from iconic Fortune 500 firms to small family-owned businesses – are calling on the Trump administration and the new Congress to support policies to accelerate a low-carbon future that will help curb climate change. The full statement of support, the list of signatories and an interactive map showing how widespread the business support is across the U.S. can be found here.
Church of England to Launch Climate Investment Tracker l Climate Home
  • Next week the Church of England will roll out a data analysis tool to help investors keep track of the climate risks facing businesses. Known as the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), it will initially monitor trends in four energy-intensive sectors: oil & gas, mining, utilities and vehicles.
  • This article, written by President Barack Obama, outlines the science behind climate change, private sector leadership in reducing emissions (in turn boosting bottom lines, cutting costs for consumers, and delivering returns for shareholders), and market forces and global momentum that make the advancement of the low carbon economy a bipartisan goal.
Exxon Continued Paying Millions To Climate-Change Deniers Under Rex Tillerson l The Huffington Post
  • Exxon Mobil Corp. promised nine years ago to stop donating to groups that spread misinformation about climate change. Yet between 2008 and 2015, the oil giant’s charitable arm gave over $6.5 million to groups that deny that burning fossil fuels is causing global warming, a new analysis shows.  
An Iceberg the Size of Delaware is About to Break off Antarctica l Mashable
  • Researchers who closely monitor a crack cutting across the Larsen C Antarctic ice shelf reported last week that its progress had suddenly sped up, indicating that a collapse may soon be underway. More worrisome is the possibility that the breaking off of the iceberg from the ice shelf that it's now attached to could speed up the disintegration of the broader ice shelf and land-based ice that lies behind it.

Will Trump’s Climate Team Accept Any ‘Social Cost of Carbon’? l Pro Publica

  • President-elect Donald Trump and members of his proposed cabinet and transition team have taken aim at many of President Obama’s climate and clean-energy policies, programs and legacies including an arcane metric called the “social cost of carbon.”This value is the government’s best estimate of how much society gains over the long haul by cutting each ton of the heat-trapping carbon-dioxide emissions scientists have linked to global warming. The metric is produced using a complex, and contentious, set of models estimating a host of future costs to society, and the Trump administration’s aim of lowering the operative “number,” possibly by a lot, is almost assured.
A Concise Map of Stakeholders in Extreme Events and Climate Risk Management – The Geneva Association l Business Wire
  • This week The Geneva Association published a new tool, The Stakeholder Landscape in Extreme Events and Climate Risk Management. This map graphically illustrates the patterns of stakeholder engagement in the international framework agreements related to disaster risk reduction, climate change and sustainable development over the last five decades. It also displays the complex stakeholder landscape and multi-stakeholder initiatives in extreme events and climate risk management over the last decade and describes the major developments in expanding risk transfer and insurance. The map provides the reader with an overview of the key initiatives underway globally and serves as a valuable and concise primer on the key stakeholders in extreme event and climate risk management worldwide.

Climate Change Is the World’s Biggest Risk, in 3 Charts l Climate Central

  • The World Economic Forum surveyed 750 experts on what the most likely and impactful risks facing humanity are in 2017. In a report released this week, they ranked extreme weather as the most likely risk and the second-most impactful, trailing only the use of weapons of mass destruction. Climate change is responsible for driving an increase in the likelihood and intensity of extreme weather events, notably heat waves.
Fossil Fuel & Private Prison Divestment
 
Denver University: Let’s Drop the False Morality Tale in the Push for Fossil Fuel Divestment (Opinion) l The Denver Post
  • This op-ed outlines the seven meetings a divestment task force at Denver University had with experts and advocates for and against fossil fuel divestment. The leading narrative is a criticism of arguments behind divestment, especially those that are morally based.
Princeton University Group Aims to Divest From Private Prisons l The Daily Pennsylvanian
  • A petition from Princeton Private Prison Divestment (PPPD) is garnering campus support. Composed by a vast array of student social justice groups, PPPD is a coalition that demands Princeton University immediately divest from what they deem are “particularly egregious” private prison corporations. The petition outlines why the coalition believes divestment is so important.