Weekly News Round-Up: February 2nd, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: February 2nd, 2018

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

We are pleased to welcome three new members to the Network this week: TIAA, Glenmede, and Jarislowsky Fraser. For more information on the leadership opportunities and benefits of IEN Membership, click here.

We're looking forward to seeing many of you next week in Tempe, AZ for the 2018 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit!

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
New IEN Members
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

N.Y. State Common to Double Low-Carbon Equity Index Investment to $4 Billion l Pensions and Investments

  • The New York State Common Retirement Fund is increasing its investment in a low-emissions equities index by $2 billion, doubling the size of an investment vehicle that excludes or reduces holdings of high-polluting companies while investing in more environmentally friendly companies.

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how green bond issuance rose 67% last year and could be headed for another record; Anne Sheehan, director of corporate governance for the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, on a decade in ESG; Companies seen learning to love unions.

Why it's Time to Align Retirement Funds With Sustainability Goals l Green Biz

  • A new wave of environmentally focused retirement funds aims to advance corporate sustainability goals while enabling employees to save for their own financial future. At its winter forum in Phoenix next week, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development plans to set an aspirational goal to move $10 billion in assets under management to ESG-themed retirement benefit accounts by 2020.

February Green Money Journal: Millenials and Money l Green Money Journal

  • The new “Millennials and Money” issue of GreenMoney Journal is now online. The Feb 2018 issue features articles by Millennials who making a Difference including 4x Olympian Lauryn Williams of Worth Winning;  Kelly Coyne of Impax Asset Mgmt/Pax World Funds;  Megan Buchter of AIM2Flourish;  Will deHoo of the FoolProof Foundation;  and a podcast interview with Impact investor Liesel Pritzker Simmons of Blue Haven Initiative.

2018 ESG Trends to Watch l MSCI

  • According to this article, in 2018 the major trends that will shape how investors approach the risks and opportunities on the horizon will be sifting for management quality in emerging markets, first steps in scenario testing climate change, acceleration of ESG into fixed income investing, and looking beyond sustainability disclosure.

ESG’s Failed U.S. Invasion l Institutional Investor

  • ESG factors play significant roles in the investment decisions of 45% of European institutional investors, a Royal Bank of Canada survey found in October 2017. Among American investors, just 12% consider ESG meaningful, as do 16% of investors in Canada. The same survey found that 40% of Europeans believe ESG-oriented investments would likely outperform non-ESG assets, whereas only 5% of U.S. investors say the same. 

Sustainable Finance: High-Level Expert Group Delivers Roadmap for Greener and Cleaner Economy l European Commission

  • The European Commission welcomes the final report by its High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, which sets out strategic recommendations for a financial system that supports sustainable investments. The Commission will now move to finalize its strategy on sustainable finance on the basis of these recommendations. 

World’s Asset Owners Discuss ESG Investment Plans at United Nations l Chief Investment Officer

  • Discussing everything from divesting from fossil fuels to calling for companies to provide carbon footprint data, 450 investors with $30 trillion in assets under management convened at the United Nations on Wednesday to discuss the next steps investors must take during the eighth Investor Summit on Climate Risk. The day featured a panel where some of the world’s top investors detailed their “Next Steps on Climate Change.”

Women Leaders In Sustainable Finance: Modeling The Future—Part 3 l Financial Advisor

  • This is the third in a series of articles sharing interviews with 12 women who are trendsetters and innovators in the impact and sustainable finance sector. To read other articles in the series, click here: article 1, article 2.

ESG Dialogue Turning to Action l Pensions & Investments

  • In this article, Keith Dixson, head of international development at Candriam Investors Group, Stephen Harvey, chief operating officer at Institutional Shareholder Services and Vivek Tanneeru, portfolio manager at Matthews Asia, discuss the costs and challenges of building an ESG-compliant culture, the critical importance of engagement, the need for standardized reporting metrics, and where and how Asia leads the world in ESG.
  • Investors have more choices than ever to invest in open-end and exchange-traded funds that practice sustainable investing. That's the main takeaway from a new report titled “Sustainable Funds U.S. Landscape Report." 

The 3 Biggest Questions About Sustainable Investing l NASDAQ

  • In this article, Blackrock's Brian Deese discusses the most common questions he gets about sustainable investing, and how he answers them-- including an emphasis on the potential linkages between sustainable investing and long-term financial performance.

Scientists Develop Sustainable Investing Framework l phys.com

  • Scientists at The City University of New York and Harvard University, in partnership with UBS Asset Management, have developed a scientific framework to inform investment decisions that make positive contributions to sustainable environmental stewardship and human well-being. Among the beneficiaries are the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals that promote access to clean water, maintaining human health, food security and biodiversity protection.

Performance Need Not be Sacrificed to Responsibility l Financial Times

  • This letter to the editor, written by Linda-Eling Lee, The Global Head of ESG Research at MSCI, acts as a rebuttal to Terry Smith’s article “ESG? SRI? Is your green portfolio really green?, and discusses the differences in SRI and ESG Portfolio construction and historical performance.
 
Shareholder Engagement

Arjuna Capital: Bank of America Is 2nd Top U.S. Bank to Act on Shareholder Pressure to Close Gender Pay Gap l Cision

  • Six U.S. banks and financial institutions were first targeted for gender pay gap action in 2017.  This week, Bank of America (BofA) became the second of the banks to agree to report on and work to close the gender pay gap.  In response to BofA's steps, Arjuna Capital withdrew its gender pay shareholder proposal today, along with co-filer Baldwin Brothers Inc. On January 15th, Citigroup was the first of the six top financial institutions to take such action. 
 
Investment Manager News

New Sustainability Index Will Facilitate Sustainable Investment in Europe l Climate Action Programme

  • Solactive, a leading German company in the indexing industry, has partnered with Deutsche Bank to launch the new Solactive Sustainability Index Europe- a tool designed to track the performance of environmentally and socially responsible European companies.

Boutique Latest to Target SDGs With Multi-Asset Impact Fund l City Wire

  • Asset management firm Kempen has launched a multi-asset SRI fund tap growing investor interest in more ethically-focused approaches. The Global Impact Pool is a multi-asset fund which will focus on targeting market-level financial returns and positive societal and environment impacts.

Sodexo Earns Highest Marks in RobecoSAM's "Sustainability Yearbook" For Eleventh Straight Year l NASDAQ

  • Sodexo earned a Gold Class distinction this week in RobecoSAM's annual "Sustainability Yearbook 2018". For the eleventh consecutive year, Sodexo was ranked as the top-scoring company in its sector for its excellent sustainability performance, scoring 78% compared to an industry average of 39%.  
 
Climate Risk, Science & Regulation

Commentary: Companies Must Come Clean on Climate Change Risks (Opinion) l Pensions & Investments

  • Jeff McDermott is the managing partner at Greentech Capital Advisors, New York. In this article, he discusses how far more firms need to make the type of pledges announced in Paris. And when they do, they need to commit to standardized metrics that can be easily compared across industries. Only then will investors have the tools they need to make smart financial decisions, rewarding the companies that cut waste and position themselves for a changing planet.

Trump's Tax on Solar Power: Here's What You Need to Know l Rolling Stone

  • President Donald Trump has imposed a 30 percent tax on imported solar panels, a move that's expected to pull the plug on tens of thousands of American jobs, while slowing the rush to renewable energy and rewarding fossil-fuel producers. This article covers some key take aways from the tax.

Coal Phase-Out: Announcing CO2-Pricing Triggers Divestment l Science Daily

  • Putting the Paris climate agreement into practice will trigger opposed reactions by investors on the one hand and fossil fuel owners on the other hand. A new study now finds that on balance, divestment beats the so-called 'green paradox' if substantial carbon pricing is credibly announced. Consequently, overall CO2 emissions would be effectively reduced.

In Cape Town, 'Day Zero' is Coming Very Soon — The Day The Water Runs Out l LA Times

  • Cape Town, South Africa's second-largest city, is facing its worst drought in a century, with its water supply expected to run dry April 21. They're calling it "Day Zero." In this city of 4 million, people will have to line up in the streets at just 200 water stations. The police and army will enforce a limit of 6.6 gallons per person and adopt measures to control crowds. Some experts believe evacuations will be necessary.
 
General Endowment News

ASU Endowment Shows Strong Performance in 2017 l Arizona State University

  • The NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments for fiscal year 2017 credits the ASU Endowment with a 12.8 percent return on investment last year. The endowment outperformed the average — 12.7 percent — for all funds of comparable size ($501 million–$1 billion), as well as the averages for endowments of all public institutions (12.2 percent) and all private (12.3). 

Trustees to Consider Energy Conservation Projects, Endowment Funds l The Ohio State University

  • Proposed energy conservation measures would improve lighting at dozens of campus buildings and create a more efficient heating and cooling system for a campus laboratory building. Meanwhile, four proposed endowments would be created to support Ohio State’s core academic mission. 

Alice Handy, a Pioneer in Investing for Nonprofits, to Retire l Bloomberg

  • Alice Handy has ceded control of her company as she prepares to retire at year-end. Handy, 69, who founded Investure in 2003 after overseeing the University of Virginia’s endowment for three decades, promoted Bruce Miller to succeed her as chief executive officer on Jan. 1. She previously handed over the chief investment officer role to Hance West, who, like Miller, has been with the company since it started.

University of Michigan Pours Billions into Funds Run by Contributors’ Firms l Detroit Free Press

  • Executives at some of the nation's top investment firms donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the University of Michigan while the university invested as much as $4 billion in those companies' funds. More than $400 million of that amount was sent into funds managed by three alumni who advise the university on its investments. Critics worry Michigan’s approach of investing with some of its top donors, who also help guide the university's nearly $11-billion endowment, creates a conflict.

 

 
Fossil Fuel Divestment

Divest McGill University Mobilizes Students l McGill Daily

  • This past week, Divest McGill held an information workshop on divestment and environmental justice titled “Divest 101.” The information session covered the history of the Divest campaign at McGill, its mobilization, as well as its current and future projects. 

Narrowing its Focus, Fossil Free Penn Targets Divestment From Coal and Tar Sands l The Daily Pennsylvanian

  • Fossil Free Penn, the group historically committed to Penn's complete divestment from fossil fuel companies, has decided to narrow its focus for the semester and advocate for University divestment from the two most harmful fossil fuels: coal and tar sands. 

New Vice President of Sustainability at NYU Should Push for Divestment l Washington Square News

  • In this article, members of NYU Divest discuss how it is clear that as NYU starts to move in a positive direction, more conversation should be encouraged between the board, NYU Divest and the Office of Sustainability. It is their hope that the new Vice President of Sustainability will offer up a fresh perspective on divestment and facilitate discussions between NYU Divest and the Board of Trustees.

Notre Dame Response to ‘Divestment is not the Answer’ OpEd l The Observer

  • Last week a Notre Dame alumnus wrote a letter to the editor titled “Divestment is not the answer.” In this article, a member of Notre Dame’s divestment campaign responds to the three arguments the alum poses in her letter.
 
Calendar of Upcoming Events

2018 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit l Second Nature & The Intentional Endowments Network, February 4-6, 2018, Phoenix, AZ

  • Second Nature and the Intentional Endowments Network are pleased to host the 2018 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit. Join your peers from February 4-6, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona for the largest national gathering of higher education presidents, chancellors, trustees, and other senior leaders committed to accelerating climate solutions. 

Roadmap to Measuring the Effectiveness of System-Level Investing Approaches l The Investment Integration Project (TIIP) & Morningstar, February 8, 2018, Chicago, IL

  • This event will serve to launch TIIP's new joint report on the Roadmap to Measuring the Effectiveness of System-Level Investing Approaches, written by William Burckart, Steve Lydenberg, and Jessica Ziegler of TIIP. 

Webinar: Investing for Racial Justice l Racial Justice Investing Group, February 12th, 2018, 2:00 p.m. ET

  • This webinar will be a briefing on Investing for Racial Justice. Attendees will hear important research, new initiatives, and ideas for the way forward. Presenters will cover topics including prison labor and supply chain risk, race and gender inclusion at public companies, addressing racial justice across asset classes, and immigration and digital surveillance issues.

ICCR's 2018 Proxy Season Overview l ICCR, February 13th, 11:30 a.m. ET

  • This webinar will help contextualize the more than 260 resolutions that have so far been filed by ICCR members this year, with a deeper discussion of key campaigns led by the ICCR members spearheading these initiatives.

Webinar: Banking on a Low Carbon Future l Boston Common Asset Management and ShareAction, February 15th, 2018, 10:00 a.m. ET

  • The webinar will cover notable practices across the globe, highlight key gaps in current bank performance, and suggest specific areas for investor engagement. Panelists will discuss possible next steps including the launch of an investor collaborative engagement using the report findings in 2018, and follow up to ShareAction's 2017 European bank report and plans for the 2018 AGM season.

Clean200: 2018 Q1 Webinar l Clean200, February 15th, 2018, 10:00 a.m. ET

  • This webinar will present Clean200's model looking at how global large-cap companies making significant revenue from clean energy have performed. 

The 100 Most Overpaid CEOs: Are Fund Managers Asleep at the Wheel? l As You Sow

  • 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.

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.
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.