Weekly News Round-Up: January 18th, 2019


Weekly News Round-Up: January 18th, 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 is today, 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 Resources

Improving Efficiency, Unlocking Returns: Transforming Corporate Resource Management l Boston Common Asset Management

  • This is the first progress report on Boston Common Asset Management's (BCAM) ambitious initiative to engage companies on EcoEfficiency. BCAM began this multi-year initiative of sustained dialogue with companies in 2015, supported by an investor coalition of $1 trillion in assets under management.

Meet the new Quartz Pros: Azeem Azhar, Peggy Johnson, Natasha Lamb, Suzy Ryoo, Nicole Stott, Bradley Tusk l Quartz

  • Quartz recently launched a new app for civil discussion about the news.  One of the app’s features is Quartz Pros, where some of the top thinkers and doers in business have committed to sharing their takes on the news regularly. This article introduces the newest members of this hand-picked roster of leaders, including The Crane Institute of Sustainability's (IEN's parent Org) Board Chair, Natasha Lamb.
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

The Rising Cost of Investing Responsibly l Bloomberg

  • This article discusses how a study published this week by capital markets consultants Opimas predicts that the cost of buying ESG data will rise to about $750 million next year, an increase of almost 50 percent from last year and up by almost 300 percent since 2014.

Identifying an “E” Factor l CommonFund

  • This article highlights how over the past year, the Commonfund investment teams have undertaken research to identify and isolate a new factor associated with the environmental sustainability of a stock (or a portfolio of stocks).

The State of Socially Responsible Investing l Harvard Business Review

  • This article outlines the financial service sector's host of innovative financial instruments, and how the through-line that ties together these new investing models and strategies is quite simple: While they have generated competitive returns, it so happens that they all positively benefit society as well. 

Climate Finance: More Money Than Ever Invested in Climate Action, but is It Enough? l Green Money Journal

  • A new study shows that while investment in climate action has been steadily increasing, it falls short in key areas. The Climate Policy Initiative, which has tracked climate finance since 2011 in the Global Landscape of Climate Finance, shows that global climate finance flows for 2015 amounted to $472 billion and $455 billion for 2016. Overall, though, CPI notes these figures represent a small share of the overall economic transition required to address climate change.

Amundi: ESG Investing ‘Has Influenced Equity Performance’ l Investments & Pensions Europe

  • The ESG investing wave that is sweeping through Europe has started to affect supply and demand, with a subsequent effect on stock prices since 2014, according to research from Amundi. An Amundi research team studied the performance of 1,700 companies from different regions in the period from January 2010 to December 2017.

Institutions Increase ESG Focus in 2018 l Pensions & Investments

  • At the start of 2018, public pension plans and insurance companies accounted for about 91% of institutional assets focused on ESG factor investing, with educational institutions a distant third at 6% of total ESG assets. The U.S. SIF Foundation surveyed 496 institutional investors managing an aggregate $5.6 trillion in ESG-focused assets.

How to Evaluate Socially Responsible Investing l U.S. News

  • Finding socially responsible investments is easier than ever before, but questions still remain around just what impact these investments are actually having. This article highlights a few ways investors can assess whether they are making socially responsible investments, including: learn to measure socially responsible investments, mind the data gaps, understand the methodology behind the rating, and work with a professional.

Sustainable Investing ETFs Cut Costs l Morningstar

  • Investors have historically paid for the privilege of incorporating ethical or environmental, social and governance factors - but now fees are falling.

Why it Makes Sense to Invest in Companies With a Healthy Gender Balance l The National

  • In this article, Rachel Whittaker, head of sustainable Investing equities and strategist in the Chief Investment Office at UBS says there is value in considering gender diversity in investment decisions. 
Shareholder Engagement

BlackRock Urged to Close Gap Between Rhetoric and Real Climate Action l Share Action

  • Investors and shareholder advocacy groups have called on BlackRock to vastly improve its climate engagements, in anticipation of its CEO’s yearly letter to companies reminding them of their need to address global strategic challenges and deliver long-term value for shareholders and society. The letter calls out the fund manager for its own poor contribution to environmental goals, especially in light of growing urgency to tackle the risk of climate change to the global economy.

Shareholders Are Looking For Value, Not Pushing Politics l GreenBiz

  • One tool shareholders use to engage with a company’s management and board to ensure the firm is doing all it can is a non-binding shareholder resolution. This process allows qualifying investors to offer resolutions to be voted upon by all shareholders in a company. It presents a useful way for investors to proactively and constructively engage with the companies in their portfolio. This article discusses how a group of companies has launched a major effort to convince the SEC that the shareholder resolution process hampers public corporations, capital formation, and strong financial performance, and outlines the faults in that logic.

Shareholders Press Amazon To Stop Selling Racially Biased Survellience Tech To Government l OpenMIC

  • Citing critical concerns over immigrant surveillance of vulnerable communities, racial profiling, and other civil and human rights violations, Amazon shareholders have filed a resolution asking the company to prohibit sales of “Rekognition”, Amazon’s facial recognition technology, to government agencies — unless the company’s Board concludes the technology does not pose actual or potential civil and human rights risk.
Climate Risk, Science, and Regulation

PG&E Warned Investors About Disasters. It Was Mostly Ignored l Bloomberg

  • PG&E Corp. told investors repeatedly that weather-related disasters were a risk, but many didn’t pay enough attention until the company was on the brink of bankruptcy. The company included warnings in its regulatory filings and offering prospectuses citing how disasters like wildfires, droughts, and floods, could weigh on its results or disrupt its operations. But until mid-November, the company’s bonds were trading above face value, even those due decades from now, implying that money managers thought those risks were manageable.

The Chain: Rising Brazilian Beef Exports to China to Test Sustainability Commitments l Chain Reaction Research

  • This article highlights how higher Brazilian beef exports to China are likely to test sustainability commitments in both countries. China imported 44% of Brazil’s total beef exports in 2018, compared to 40% in 2017. Brazil, the largest exporter of beef in the world, shipped 1.64 million tonnes to foreign countries in 2018. In 2019, exports are expected to rise again, reaching 1.8 million tonnes, with high volumes still heading to China.

Investing in Forest Health l Stanford Social Innovation Review

  • This article discusses how a new impact investment vehicle may hold a key to addressing the West’s growing wildfire problem.

Exxon Mulling Investing in Electric-Vehicle Charging l axios

  • ExxonMobil Corp. is actively considering whether to invest in electric-charging stations, according to an Atlantic Council report published this week. Most other international oil and gas companies have at least token investments in electric-charging infrastructure, but Exxon has been an outlier among its peers in this space. Exxon's possible change of heart reflects Big Oil’s recognition that the world is transitioning away (albeit slowly) from oil-powered cars as part of a broader shift in the energy industry's response to climate change.

Plastic Polluters Launch US$1.5bn Waste Collection and Recycling Fund l EcoBusiness

  • Plastic producers and users including Shell, ExxonMobil, LyondellBasell, Chevron and P&G are investing US$1.5 billion over the next five years to fight plastic waste, with a focus on Southeast Asia. The alliance claims this is the most comprehensive effort yet to end plastic waste.

The Sustainability Movement Has Disappeared. Where Did It Go? l GreenBiz

  • This article explores the state of the sustainability movement, including the agenda that the movement once followed, and how it's tenants have become engrained into much of society.

Eating Meat Has ‘Dire’ Consequences For The Planet, Says Report l National Geographic

  • To feed a growing global population and curtail climate change, scientists say we need to radically change our food systems.
General Sustainability in Higher Ed News

Second Nature and U.S. Green Building Council Announce 2018 Winners of Higher Education Climate Leadership Awards l Second Nature

  • This week,  Second Nature, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), announced that the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and Delta College have been selected to receive the ninth annual Climate Leadership Awards.

New Biomass Plant Will Increase Dartmouth’s Sustainability l Dartmouth News

  • Dartmouth is seeking proposals to build a biomass energy heating facility and transmission system to replace the existing central heating system, marking a major step in the institution’s sustainability commitment to reduce carbon emissions and transition to renewable energy sources by the year 2025.
Calendar of Upcoming Events

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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