Weekly News Round-Up: January 25th, 2019

 

 
Weekly News Round-Up: January 25th, 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. 

View the full agenda here. We have an incredible group of 270 leaders registered for the Summit. The remaining spots are filling up quickly, and we hope to see you there!

Have a great weekend, 
Nicole

 

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

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Sign-On Opportunities

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

Another Swedish Pension Fund Makes Huge ESG-Focused Divestment l Chief Investment Officer

  • Closely following its sister fund, in accordance with new legislation, Swedish pension fund AP1 has divested from several environmentally harmful categories. The $1 billion AP1, one of four pension funds that manage the retirement assets of the nation, said it has removed allocations to nuclear weapons, tobacco, coal, and oil sand companies from its investment portfolio “since the beginning of the year.”

University of Guelph Sidesteps Demands For Full fossil Fuel Divestment With Partial Carbon Cut l Financial Post

  • The University of Guelph has voted to cut the carbon footprint of its endowment fund by 10 percent over two years in response to a student-led campaign, the latest attempt by an institution to sidestep calls for full fossil fuel divestment. The commitment is being described by university personnel as a “starting point” — one that will eventually lead to further reduction goals being made in the future as part of a long-term plan.
 
New Resources

Guggenheim, WWF Publish Guidelines for Sustainable Infrastructure Investing l Benefits Canada

  • Guggenheim Investments and the World Wildlife Fund have commissioned a study to review sustainability standards for multi-stakeholder infrastructure programs, noting the need for further clarity as sustainable infrastructure transitions into an institutional asset class.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Socially Conscious Investing Has Quadrupled in the Past Decade l Quartz

  • According to a new report from the Harvard Business Review, in 2010 ESG investments made up approximately $3 trillion of all professionally managed assets. As of the beginning of last year, that number had quadrupled to $12 trillion —$1 in every four invested in the US.

 Fears Rise Around Mis-selling of ESG Products l Investment Week

  • There are growing concerns ESG products are being mis-sold to investors, according to a report by research house Cicero. The report found 97 of the 100 independent and restricted financial advisers surveyed said they were either "very concerned" or "fairly concerned" about the potential for ESG products to be mis-sold.

Major Utilities Team Up to Launch Sustainable Finance Hub for European Businesses l Edie

  • Utility giants EDF, SSE and Ørsted are among the 16 companies which have co-founded a new forum aimed at helping Europe's business community champion sustainable finance and impact investing.

Debunking 4 Common ESG Investing Myths l Impactivate

  • Even as retail and institutional investors devote more and more portfolio space to funds that specialize in improving ESG criteria, misconceptions about impact investing persist, giving some would-be investors second thoughts and holding back the movement’s full potential. This article offers a look at four of the most common ESG investing myths and why some think they’re inaccurate.

U2’s Bono and TPG Launch Company to Measure ‘Impact Investments’ l Wall Street Journal

  • Bono and TPG are teaming up to try to prove that investments meant to benefit society at large do what they purport to do. The U2 frontman and his business partners at the U.S. private-equity firm announced a new company called Y Analytics, which will use a method they developed to measure social and environmental change created by investments.

ESG Trends to Watch in 2019 l MSCI

  • This article highlights five ESG trends to watch in 2019, which contain potentially overlooked costs and opportunities.

Bucking the Trend, Flows Into ESG Funds Set Another Record in 2018 l Morningstar

  • Despite significant market headwinds, U.S.-domiciled open-end and exchange-traded funds that practice sustainable investing attracted nearly $5.5 billion in net flows last year. That marks the third straight year of record annual net flows to sustainable funds and stands in stark contrast with the overall U.S. fund universe, which netted its lowest calendar-year flows since 2008.
 
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Strengthening the Black and Latino Entrepreneurial Class l The Boston Globe

  • This article describes how over the past year, a group of leaders in Boston has designed and piloted the Business Equity Initiative (BEI), which focuses on supporting black and Latino enterprises as a means of narrowing the wealth gap. The goal is to level the playing field and cut through the barriers that have prevented these small businesses from fully scaling and thriving.
 
Shareholder Engagement

State Street Calls on Boards to Invest in Corporate Culture l Chief Investment Officer

  • State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) CEO Cyrus Taraporevala has sent a letter to more than 1,100 public companies calling on their corporate boards to place a greater emphasis on corporate culture, and offered a framework for implementation. According to SSGA, an increased focus on corporate culture is essential to a company’s sustainable, long-term value creation.
 
Investment Firm News

Jeremy Grantham to Invest $1 Billion in Climate Action l Philanthropy News Digest

  • Investor Jeremy Grantham plans to devote about $1 billion to address the effects of climate change, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. The British-born co-founder of investment management firm Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo (GMO) has been warning investors for years that humans are losing the "race of our lives" — and urging scientists to raise the alarm about data which suggest global warming is accelerating. 

BlackRock Plans Environmentally Conscious Money Market Fund l CNBC

  • BlackRock Inc is planning a new fund for investors looking to park their cash safely while helping the environment, expanding options for socially responsible investments, a filing with U.S. market regulators showed on Tuesday.

Investec AM Unveils Inaugural Sustainability Fund l Investment Room

  • Investec Asset Management has launched a UK sustainable equity fund targeting 3% outperformance of the FTSE All-Share per annum, gross of fees, over a full market cycle.

SJP Hires Responsible Investing Head in ESG Drive l Money Marketing

  • St James’s Place has named Emma Hunt as head of responsible investing in a bid to expand its responsible investment offering. In a statement, the company says the hire is part of a strategy to engage more of its partners and clients in its responsible investment work and enhance SJP’s stewardship capabilities.

Apex and ISS to Launch ESG Reporting For Investment Managers l Global Custodian

  • Apex Group has teamed up with Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) to develop an ESG reporting service to investment managers. A study from Aite Group in December 2018 highlighted the growing demands for analytics and reporting in ESG and suggested that securities services providers could be primed to step into the space.
 
Climate Risk, Science, and Regulation

Climate Change Failure ‘Working its Way Into Investor Thinking’: MSCI l Investments & Pensions Europe

  • Investors are beginning to consider the possibility that the worst outcomes of climate change will not be avoided, according to index and analytics provider MSCI. MSCI said in an outlook paper that those investors already incorporating climate considerations into their portfolios were working on the underlying assumption that “some combination of technology and policy forces will limit emissions going forward, such that we can avoid the worst outcomes of climate change”.

Former Federal Reserve Chairs, Economists, Back Carbon Tax l The Hill

  • Four former Federal Reserve chairs from both parties joined with a group of leading economists in endorsing a plan to tax carbon dioxide emissions and return the funds to taxpayers. Janet Yellen, Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, and Paul Volcker, along with dozens of former chairmen of the Council of Economic Advisers and Nobel Laureate economists, signed on to an opinion piece published in The Wall Street Journal Wednesday evening laying out principles for a carbon “dividend” plan that they would support.

Pentagon Warns of Dire Risk to Bases, Troops From Climate Change l Bloomberg

  • The U.S. Defense Department has issued a dire report on how climate change could affect the nation’s armed forces and security, warning that rising seas could inundate coastal bases and drought-fueled wildfires could endanger those that are inland. The 22-page assessment delivered to Congress on Thursday says about two-thirds of 79 mission-essential military installations in the U.S. that were reviewed are vulnerable now or in the future, to flooding and more than half are at risk from drought. About half also are at risk from wildfires, including the threat of mudslides and erosion from rains after the blazes.

Glaciers Are Retreating. Millions Rely on Their Water l The New York Times

  • This article discusses how glaciers are crucial sources of water for people and crops in Central Asia, but global warming is causing glaciers there and around the world to shrink every year.

Corporate America Is Getting Ready to Monetize Climate Change l Bloomberg

  • This article highlights how, as the Trump administration rolls back rules meant to curb global warming, new disclosures show that the country’s largest companies are already bracing for its effects. The documents reveal how widely climate change is expected to cascade through the economy -- disrupting supply chains, disabling operations and driving away customers, but also offering new ways to make money.

Want More Bang for Your Buck? Go Solar l Bloomberg

  • For the fifth year in a row, global investment in clean energy topped $300 billion, according to Bloomberg NEF. 2018’s financing for new power-generation projects, research and development, and public-markets activity were up fivefold from 15 years ago, when Germany introduced its first major subsidy and policy supports for clean energy. Wind and solar make up the vast majority of all new clean-energy power generation now being built.
 
 
General Higher Education Endowment News

Bloomberg's Gift and the Role of Endowments l Inside Higher Ed

  • This article explores how the unprecedented size of Bloomberg’s gift to Johns Hopkins University perpetuate two related notions about the evolving role of endowments in higher education financing: the now entrenched belief that augmenting endowments to provide more funding for student financial aid while letting tuition rise unchecked is the best way to increase the numbers of low-income and minority students who enroll and graduate from well-endowed institutions, and that endowment size is the best way to measure the value of America’s college and universities.

'College Meltdown': Small Private Schools Disappear in Face of Changing Educational Landscape l The Washington Times

  • This article explores how small private colleges across the country are increasingly finding themselves trapped between ever-rising expenses and unchanging endowments, forcing administrators into hard decisions such as canceling courses, merging with other colleges and even closing schools.
 
Fossil Fuel Divestment

Quinnipiac Should Join The Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign (Opinion) l Quinnipiac Chronicle 

  • This article outlines all the reasons the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees, which manages Quinnipiac’s endowment portfolio, should acknowledge that divestment presents no downside risk to the endowment, and divest from all fossil fuel interests.
 
 
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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