Weekly News Round-Up: February 16th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: February 16th, 2018

Below please find this week's news round-up.

Highlights include Lewis & Clark College's decision this week to divest from fossil fuels, and a warm welcome to Grinnell College-- the latest IEN Member.To learn more about the leadership opportunities and benefits of IEN membership, click here.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
New IEN Members
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments

Lewis and Clark College Board of Trustees Votes to Divest From Fossil Fuels l Lewis & Clark

  • The Lewis & Clark College Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to divest from all fossil fuel holdings in the endowment, approving the recommended policy changes prepared by a subcommittee formed to study the matter. “When national politics are aggressively undermining U.S. commitments to fight climate change, it is up to local jurisdictions and institutions like ours to lead,” said Lewis & Clark President Wim Wiewel. “I applaud the trustees for their action today. We must be more than pioneers by name, we must be pioneers by nature.”

University Of Edinburgh Will Fully Divest From Fossil Fuels Within 3 Years l Clean Technica

  • The University of Edinburgh in Scotland has announced that it will completely divest from all investments in fossil fuels within three years in a move that goes a long way toward achieving the University’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040. The move to divest is a big deal in more ways than one. Not only does the University of Edinburgh have the largest endowment fund of any university in Scotland but this will make the University’s endowment the largest to be free of fossil fuel investments in the UK.

AP2 Creates ESG-led Multi-Factor Equity Indices for €10bn Portfolio l Investments & Pensions Europe

  • AP2, the second of Sweden’s national pensions buffer funds, has created a pair of multi-factor indices to guide its internally-managed global equities investment, in a bid to improve returns and take more account of ESG.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how President Trump gave hydrogen fuel cell makers the jolt they've been seeking with a renewed tax credit; Low carbon indexes grow amid desire to tackle climate risk in portfolios according to Fred Samama of Amundi Asset Management; and clean energy has been stirred but not shaken by Trump.

ESG Gains Traction in Exchange-Traded Products l Pensions & Investments

  • ESG exchange-traded products gained a lot of traction in 2016, a trend that carried into 2017. During 2016, assets grew by $3.8 billion, including $2.3 billion in net new money. The following year saw assets add another $5.7 billion, despite only $30 million more in net inflows. As of the end of 2017, there were about 122 individual exchange-traded products, more than double the 54 at the end of 2015.

ESG Charges into the Mainstream l Barron's

  • According to this article, suspicions about ESG investing are giving way as State Street, BlackRock, Putnam and others embrace the idea that a company’s good-citizen record is actually a decent predictor of financial success. 

Looking at Sustainable Investing Through a Gender Lens l Investopedia

  • This article explores the increasing number of women in investment manager positions, and discusses why investment options that are designed to combine index-based returns with high gender and diversity ratings (screening companies based on their records for supporting women’s rights, including wage parity, family benefits, and diversity) are needed. 

Green Finance Funds the Sustainability Transition l Green Biz

  • According to the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank Group, the Paris Agreement could spur nearly $23 trillion in "climate-smart" investments between now and 2030. The funding needed to achieve the SDGs globally was estimated by the United Nations at $6 trillion a year for 15 years. According to this article, fund giants such as Barclays, Citi, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and JPMorgan Chase see nearly unlimited opportunity to fund the transition.
 
New Resources & Reports

Plant-based Profits: Investment Risks & Opportunities in Sustainable Food Systems l Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return

  • This briefing aims to answer questions about retailers and food companies thoughts on the internal impacts and external risks of the meat products they sell as well as their considerations of the environmental limits, human health effects and their contribution to achieving the SDGs, the responses from corporates in FAIRR’s collaborative engagement, and also looks at the drivers for the mainstreaming of alternative proteins.

Mind the Performance Gap: Banks’ Climate Shortcomings Could Undermine Paris Agreement Warn Investors l Boston Asset Banks Blog

  • A new report titled ‘Banking on a Low Carbon Future’ warns that in areas such as ‘climate strategy’, ‘risk management’ and ‘low carbon opportunities’ the banking sector is failing to embed climate into its core practices.  The report supports the engagement letter – backed by over 100 investors with almost $2 trillion in assets under management – sent to over 60 banks last September asking about alignment with TCFD. 
 
Investment Manager News

Kendall Sustainable Infrastructure Announces Completion of $50m in Distributed Generation Solar l Institutional Investing in Infrastructure

  • Kendall Sustainable Infrastructure has reached the milestone of completing more than $50 million of newly built distributed solar projects. The portfolio consists of 37 projects with a combined capacity of approximately 20 megawatts of power, or enough power for more than 3,000 homes.

Shelton Group Reaches Sustainable Investing Milestone, Offering Natixis Sustainable Future Funds℠ in Employee 401(k) Plans l Business Wire

  • Natixis Investment Managers announced today that Shelton Group has adopted the Natixis Sustainable Future Funds℠ into its retirement plan lineup, thus enabling Shelton Group’s employees to invest their 401(k) retirement assets in the industry’s only target-date open-end mutual fund series that follows a broad ESG investing approach.

Scotiabank to buy Jarislowsky Fraser for $950M l Advisor

  • Scotiabank’s deal to acquire independent investment firm Jarislowsky Fraser for $950 million is part of the bank’s strategy to move beyond retail investing, one of the bank’s executive says.  80% of Jarislowsky Fraser's business in institutional investing and the rest in ultra-high net worth.
 
General Higher Education News

Harvard Names Lawrence Bacow President, Succeeding Faust l Bloomberg

  • Harvard University appointed board member Lawrence Bacow as the school’s 29th president, succeeding Drew Gilpin Faust, who’s stepping down after 11 years on the job. Bacow, 66, a former president of Tufts University and chancellor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will take over on July 1, Harvard said Sunday in an emailed statement.

Tell Them We Are Rising: A Documentary Film Breaks New Ground l Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

  • Founded to educate a population newly freed from legal slavery, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been largely invisible in both American history and the history of higher education. Director Stanley Nelson’s new film, Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges & Universities, begins with the profound challenge facing schools that were designed to educate African Americans, and that were, with very few exceptions, the only higher education option available to them. The film takes viewers on a fascinating journey starting with the early development of HBCUs and covers their contributions to American history and culture, up to and including the present day.

Universities Target 'Patient' Investors to Buy into Innovation l Global Capital

  • The worlds of academic research and finance are increasingly merging, as“patient capitalists” look to invest in university spin-outs for social impact and returns—and some equity investors and SRI funds are taking note.

How Universities Are Tackling Society's Grand Challenges l Scientific American

  • This week, UCLA released a new report on University-Led Grand Challenges, which documents how nearly 20 universities are leading Grand Challenge programs that are rallying research communities to contribute to solving a major societal challenge; attracting new investment and resources; demonstrating value of university research; and engaging students, partners, the broader community and the public. Grand Challenges are ambitious goals that have the potential to capture the public’s imagination, and increase support for policies and investments that foster innovation for cross-sector and multi-disciplinary collaboration.
 
Fossil Fuel Divestment

How Likely is it That Cambridge will Divest From Fossil Fuels? l The Varsity

  • In this article, a columnist investigates the ongoing divestment debate at Cambridge University.

Johns Hopkins Student Group Continues Fight for Full Fossil Fuel Divestment l The Johns Hopkins Newsletter

  • Refuel Our Future a student-led fossil fuel divestment campaign, organized a rally this week, demanding that the University fully divest from fossil fuels. Their protest responded to the Board of Trustees’ decision last December to divest its endowment from thermal coal companies. Refuel had hoped that the University would follow through with the recommendations from the Public Interest Investment Advisory Committee (PIIAC) which were released in September. PIIAC recommended that the University “terminate all direct investments” in Carbon Underground 200 Companies (CU 200).

Dalhousie University Looks at Fossil Fuel Divestment l The Coast

  • Nova Scotia's biggest university will look at divesting its financial portfolio from fossil fuel companies.  The Halifax school’s board of governors approved the motion this week to investigate a new ecological option for its investment portfolio. A third-party financial consultant will be hired to figure out a financial strategy free from climate-changing fossil fuels is viable.
 
Calendar of Upcoming Events

Webinar: Sustainable Investing Solutions - Smaller Investors Making a Difference l Real Impact Tracker, February 20th, 2018, 11:00 am ET

  • Real Impact Tracker will explain the importance of supporting a community of leading fund managers to educate the public and empower them to use their voice, as shareowners, to direct the flow of capital towards the sustainable society they want, and will provide updates on progress developing a comprehensive universe of fund ratings and a mechanism for individual investors to communicate feedback to their companies and funds.

Webinar: The 100 Most Overpaid CEOs: Are Fund Managers Asleep at the Wheel? l As You Sow, March 1st, 2018, 11:00 am EST

  • The 100 Most Overpaid CEO highlights the fund managers who continue to approve these pay packages at staggering rates (many funds approve nearly 100% of the pay packages they vote on) and contrasts them with those who take a stance against excessive pay with their votes.

Webinar: Proxy Preview 2018: Helping Shareholders Vote Their Values l Proxy Preview, March 8th, 2018, 2:00 pm EST

  • Proxy Preview 2018, now in its 14th year, provides an overview of all ESG shareholder resolutions filed—as well as expert insights into resolutions filed ESG issues investors are raising at companies this year on and off proxy ballots.
8th Annual Practitioners Gathering l Confluence Philanthropy, March 12-15, 2018, Berkeley, CA
  • The Practitioners Gathering is a four-day conference where asset owners and their advisors meet at the cutting edge of mission-related investing. Click here to apply to join the event as a non-member guest.

The Wall Street Green Summit l Global Change Associates, March 19, 2018, New York, NY

  • This year's Wall Street Green Summit will focus on the  Impact Economy-- where main street investors team up with corporations, entrepreneurs and government to solve environmental and social problems while generating financial returns.
Responsible Investment Forum New York l Private Equity International, March 20-21, 2018, New York, NY
  • The Responsible Investment Forum will bring together the most sophisticated LPs, GPs and service providers to discuss why, when, and how your firm should be implementing an effective ESG strategy. IEN's Kristian Nammack will be presenting.