Weekly News Round-Up: January 20th, 2017

Upcoming Events
 
Webinar: 2017 ESG Trends To Watch l MSCI, January 24, 2017, 11:00 AM EST
  • 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.
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. 

 

Sustainable / ESG Investing
 
Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Investing
  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how impact investors are looking to put capital to work to address global wealth gaps; how low-carbon active managers have been outperforming; a Q&A with DBL Partners founder Nancy Pfund on the business push for low-carbon energy policy; and a look at how Ford Motor Co. is looking to hire more workers with autism as companies seek to broaden their diversity push.
World's Largest Fund Manager Demands Cuts to Executive Pay and Bonuses l The Guardian
  • BlackRock is demanding cuts to director pension entitlements and an end to huge pay rises as UK companies prepare to put their latest pay deals to shareholders. In a letter to the bosses of more than 300 UK companies, the US fund manager said it would only approve salary rises for top executives if firms increase workers’ wages by a similar amount.
On Borrowed Time: New Report Finds Banks Making Slow Progress in Fast Changing Climate l Boston Common Asset Management
  • A new report examining 28 of the world’s largest banks on their management of climate-related risks concludes they are failing to align their business practices with targets to keep global temperature rises below two degrees. The investor assessment comes despite praising banks for introducing measures such as climate stress testing, carbon footprinting and governance for climate risk.
Sustainable Investing: Not Just About Returns l Investor Daily
  • As ESG issues take center stage in 2017, investors should be looking at whether including ESG criteria improves measures other than profitability, writes Investec Asset Management’s Justin Simler. 
Why Smart Investors are Targeting the Companies Solving the World’s Sustainability Problems l Eco-Business
  • Investors today are thinking green and channelling their funds towards sustainable investments. In this article WRI's David Richardson explains why top investors are interested in companies that deal with sustainability.
Color it Greenery: As Government Steps Back, Sustainable Investors Step Up l ImpactAlpha
  • Sustainability and climate change will not be high on the Trump administration’s priority list. For business, investors, tech innovators, and entrepreneurs, this a call to action. If sustainability is to keep moving forward, it’s up to the private sector now. In the pro-business environment ahead, the greatest opportunities await mission-driven, impact-focused companies and investors.

 

Impact Investing
 
  • Swiss banking giant UBS has committed to investing at least $5bn of private client assets to Sustainable Development Goal-related impact investing, in a strategy that includes partnering with the Rise Fund – a new $2bn social impact fund.
  • According to a 2016 survey conducted by the Global Impact Investor Network, more impact investors – a third of all respondents – plan to boost investment in food and agriculture than in any other sector.
Millennials Drive Growth in ‘Impact Investing’ l The Boston Globe
  • Millennials are 15 percent more inclined to stick with an ESG-oriented investment, according to Schroders Investment Management. Millennials will play an increasingly important role in popularizing ESG investing as their earnings rise and they invest some of the $59 trillion they will inherit, according to a report by the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College.
Impact Investing - A Sustainable Strategy for Hedge Funds l Deloitte
  • Nearly a decade after its arrival on the social finance scene, impact investing is still growing in popularity. Hedge fund managers have been slow to adopt the strategy, although other types of investment managers are already gathering assets in this space. Yet as the hedge fund industry continues to face performance headwinds, it may be time to take a closer look at how this type of sustainable investing may support alpha generation.

 

Fiduciary Duty
 
Fiduciary Duty Overview For Endowments And Foundations: Integrating Nonprofit Mission Goals Into Investment Practices l Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren S.C.
  • This overview is intended to provide investment fiduciaries with a summary of how fiduciary duties apply to mission-aligned investing, such as strategies that incorporate material ESG factors into investment analysis.  It shows that prudent adoption of mission-aligned investment techniques can be consistent with fiduciary duty.

 

General Higher Education News
 
What a Trump Presidency Might Mean for Higher Education l BU Today
  • What will President Donald Trump do about student college debt? Or visas commonly used by international students and researchers? Or how universities use their endowments? (He has said he plans to pressure colleges and universities with large endowments to spend more on students or, if they don’t, face loss of their tax-exempt status). This article asks BU experts for their take on what a Trump administration and the new Congress might mean on these and other pressing higher education matters.

 

 
Climate Risk, Science & Regulation
 
Massachusetts Attorney General Wins Showdown With Exxon Mobil l The Boston Globe
  • Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey won a major legal showdown against Exxon Mobil last week when Suffolk Superior Court Judge Heidi E. Brieger ruled that the company must turn over 40 years of documents on climate change. Brieger denied the company an emergency motion or a protective order that would have blocked Healey’s demand for the company’s internal research on global warming.
Davos Elite Focus on Climate Change, Ignoring Trump’s Skepticism l Bloomberg
  • Donald Trump has often ridiculed global warming and promised to withdraw the U.S. from the accord signed in Paris in 2015. Yet despite the shift in political weather in Washington, the captains of business and finance gathered in Davos this week will spend a lot of time talking about climate change. The World Economic Forum is devoting 15 sessions of its 2017 annual meeting to climate change, and nine more to clean energy -- the most ever on these issues.

Obama Administration Sending $500 Million to Global Climate Change Fund l Wall Street Journal

  • The Obama administration announced this week it is funneling $500 million to a global fund to address climate change, one of the final acts President Barack Obama is taking to preserve his environmental legacy and the U.S.’s role in an international climate agreement.
No Hoax: 2016 Was the Hottest Year on Record l Bloomberg
  • This article outlines 137 years of diligently kept scientific records that show how humans are transforming Earth’s climate. Temperature rise is shown in graphic form, and effects on the climate are explained as well.
You Live in a World Full of Risks: These Are The Biggest l World Economic Forum
  • In this year’s World Economic Forum annual survey, some 750 experts assessed 30 global risks, as well as 13 underlying trends that could amplify them or alter the interconnections between them.

 

Private Prison Divestment
  • Leaders of a campus organization advocating for Yale’s divestment from the private prison industry met with members of the University’s Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility this week. The meeting marks the latest development in a yearlong campaign led by the Yale Students for Prison Divestment.