Weekly News Round-Up: March 10th, 2017

Upcoming Events
 
Superbugs & Super Risks: The Investment Case for Action l Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR) Initiative, March 20th, 2017, 3:30 - 6:00 p.m. EST, New York, NY
  • The FAIRR Initiative is pleased to invite members of the IEN community to join them for an event on antibiotic resistance and investment risk in New York City on Monday March 20th 2017, kindly hosted by BlackRock. The event will be a forum for investors to learn more about the material risks associated with this issue, to explore strategies to identify and manage these risks, and to share investor and company perspectives on opportunities and challenges in addressing resistance. RSVP by emailing events@fairr.org
  • Join moderator Janine Guillot of SASB, and panelists Robert Herz, former Chairman of FASB, Rakhi Kumar of State Street Global Advisors, Malcolm Ryerse of Columbia Threadneedle Investments for a roundtable discussion aimed to help attendees gain a broader understanding of why investors care about ESG info and how investors use the information.
Webinar: Mission-Aligned Investing: What New Positive Deviance Research Can Tell Us About What Moves Institutional Investors to Action l Intentional Endowments Network, March 15, 2017, 12:00 - 1:00 PM ET
  • Dr. Abigail Abrash Walton of Antioch University New England will share research findings related to mission-aligned investing, leadership, and the decision-making process to divest from fossil fuels by philanthropic organizations with assets under management from $5 million to $1 billion. We will explore what factors supported decision makers in moving to mission-aligned investing while simultaneously exercising their fiduciary duty to steward institutional assets. 
Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conference 2017 l University of Maryland, March 26-28, 2017, College Park, MD
  • IEN members will be presenting a panel session on "Higher Ed Endowments & The Paris Climate Agreement" 
Impact Investing Forum 2017 l Opal Group, April 23, 2017 - April 25, 2017, Boca Raton, FL
  • The Impact Investing Forum will look at many of the asset classes that encompass this space. Themes of defining impact investing, portfolio construction, asset class opportunities, and the role of the investor will be covered at this event. This conference will exclusively feature dialogue driven panel discussions led by consultants and family offices.
The Impact Capitalism Summit l Big Path Capital, April 25-26, 2017, Chicago, IL
  • The Impact Capitalism Summit is the Largest Convening of Impact Investors Globally. This year at the Impact Capitalism Summit in Chicago we will explore the progress of leading impact investment portfolios, discover the latest innovations across sectors, themes and asset classes, and identify the steps needed to harness the power of capital markets to build a sustainable, fair and just economy where opportunity and prosperity are shared by all.
 
 
New Resources
 
  • America’s colleges and universities are positioned to lead the transition to 100 percent renewable energy, according to a report released today by Environment America Research & Policy Center. The report stresses that a complete shift to clean, renewable energy is the best way for colleges and universities to achieve their carbon reduction goals and highlights schools across the country that are taking measures to make the transition to renewable energy.
Systems-Level Considerations and the Long-Term Investor: Definitions, Examples, and Actions l The Investment Integration Project (TIIP)
  • This Occasional Paper from The Investment Integration Project (TIIP) addresses the question of how asset owners and managers can identify environmental, societal and financial systems-level issues relevant to their investment processes. Integration of these systems-level considerations can help investors manage long-term risks and rewards while seeking competitive portfolio-level returns.
The Global Risks Report 2017 l World Economic Forum
  • The Global Risks Report 2017 features perspectives from nearly 750 experts on the perceived impact and likelihood of 30 prevalent global risks as well as 13 underlying trends that could amplify them or alter the interconnections between them over a 10-year timeframe.
 
 
Sustainable / ESG Investing
 
Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance
  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights Bloomberg's first ever ranking of U.S. funds with a sustainability bias; Mariner Investment Group's new impact deal aimed at freeing up bank capital for green loans; Iona Capital raising a bioenergy fund; the potential for Saudi Aramco's green energy push to widen its IPO appeal?; and an exploration into the best paid maternity and paternity leaves in financial services.
  • Wespath Benefits and Investments (Wespath) is a non-profit agency of The United Methodist Church with fiduciary responsibility for the benefit plans it administers and the assets it invests. Over the past two years, as this report illustrates, they have made considerable progress in their sustainable investment approach. They have made new investments in companies that they believe will support the transition to a low-carbon economy while providing diversification to their funds. They intensified our shareholder engagement on critical ESG issues with companies —and successfully created positive change. 
Responsible Investing Growing in Importance Driven by Ethical Principals, Institutional Investor Demands, and Business Opportunities, Says New Survey from CAIA and Adveq l Business Wire
  • Responsible investing, including the incorporation of ESG factors and ethical principles, is growing in importance in the alternative investment management industry, driven by ethical principles, constituent demands, and new business opportunities, according to a new survey conducted by the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association, and Adveq, a global institutional private equity investor. More than three quarters (77%) of respondents to the survey agree Responsible Investing is more important than it was three years ago, while 78% anticipate it will be more important three years from now.
Impact Investing in the Age of President Trump l Investment News
  • It's too soon to tell what effect the election of Donald J. Trump to the presidency will have on impact investing. But if implemented, Mr. Trump's policies could have a profound effect on issues near and dear to a growing number of investors: the environment, social issues and corporate governance. In the age of President Trump, investor pressure may help to offset relaxed governmental regulations on the nation's companies and industries.
Asset Manager Put a Statue of a Defiant Girl in Front of the Wall Street Bull to Raise Awareness of Lack of Women on Boards l Business Insider
  • The world's third-largest asset manager installed a bronze statue of a defiant girl in front of Wall Street's iconic charging bull statue on Tuesday morning as part of its new campaign to pressure companies to add more women to their boards. State Street Global Advisors, a nearly $2.5 trillion investor and unit within State Street Corp., is rolling out the campaign ahead of International Women's Day on Wednesday.
Graduate Students from 15 Countries Vie for Sustainable Investing Challenge l Just Means
  • The 7th annual Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge announces 10 finalist teams chosen from 196 students at 37 schools around the world. Each year, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and Morgan Stanley's Institute for Sustainable Investing present the Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge. The aim is to provide inspiration and incentive for graduate students to innovate conventional financing and investment tools – or even devise new ones – in ways that could address environmental, social and governance problems.
Trump Could be Fueling SRI l IR Magazine
  • U.S. President Donald Trump is seemingly indirectly encouraging some investors to focus more on impact investments and SRI in the US. Robert Johnson, president and CEO of the American College of Financial Services, a nonprofit private educational institution, forecasts the election of Trump to be a ‘boom for impact and socially responsible investing.’
  • The online brokerage Motif lets you invest in various themes — such as “battling cancer,” which includes biotech companies developing cancer drugs and innovations, or “healthy and tasty,” which invests in companies that sell organic and farm-raised foods. Despite the increasing interest in impact investing, the CEO of Motif told Yahoo Finance “this product wouldn’t have launched if Trump hadn’t gotten elected.” Walia has seen a surge in interest in sustainable investing and smart money since Trump got elected. It appears that now, more than ever, people are realizing that their money speaks volumes.
Analysis: International Women’s Day: RI’s Investment, Research and Policy Round-Up (Subscription) l Responsible Investor
  • To mark International Woman’s Day, Responsible Investor profiles some of the latest research, products and policies focused on gender diversity issues.
  • While responsible investment continues to gain momentum in the hedge fund sector, progress is slow. This is due to prevailing misconceptions surrounding both RI and hedge funds. Investors with limited knowledge of RI practices still think it’s all about ‘socially responsible investing’ or ‘ethical investing’ and many believe that RI is only about positive or negative screening.
Climate Risk, Science & Regulation

  • Science-based policies and regulations have resulted in tremendous gains in environmental quality and reduced the population’s exposure to harmful pollutants. In the United States, the gains have been driven by major laws that were passed and amended by Republican and Democratic administrations alike. The intended policy directions described to date by President Donald Trump and his appointees, and likely to be supported by Republicans in Congress, raise concern about future environmental regulations and protection. The authors' of this article outline the scientific evidence that provides the foundation for environmental protection and underscores the necessity, enshrined in U.S. environmental laws, of protecting human health.
As Trump Talks Coal Revival, China Seeks Props on the Fuel's Decline l Marketplace
  • We now have three years of data points on where China’s coal and carbon emissions are heading: downward. It may have to do with China’s economy becoming less energy-intensive as it moves away from infrastructure and heavy industry. It may also have something to do with policy. Beijing has shuttered coal plants already in construction. And renewables use is growing to nearly 20 percent of the country’s energy mix. Despite what President Donald Trump plans on energy and climate deregulation, most other countries are moving toward decarbonizing.
Australia Must Put a Price on Carbon, Say Institutional Investors l The Guardian
  • The Turnbull government needs to put a price on carbon to unlock new investment in the electricity sector and drive an orderly transition to low-emissions power sources, according to the Investor Group on Climate Change. The group, which represents major institutional investors in Australia and New Zealand, has used its submission to the Finkel review to argue that the government’s oft-repeated concerns about network reliability, energy affordability and emissions reductions will be addressed if concrete steps are taken to unlock new investment.
  • Norway's Sovereign Wealth Fund (which holds 1.3 per cent of the entire world's listed equity) is threatening companies around the world found guilty of a raft of unethical practices — including heavy polluting, corruption and human rights — abuses with divestment. Firms under scrutiny cover telecoms, defense, energy, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, labour recruitment and textile industries.

Clean Energy

University of Mississippi Offsets Electricity Use with Renewable Energy Certificates l Ole Miss University of Mississippi News

  • The University of Mississippi has offset a portion of the electricity it uses through the purchase of renewable energy certificates. The purchase, which came about as a recommendation of the UM Energy Committee, allows the university to lower its carbon footprint, support the development of renewable energy technologies and practice resource stewardship, a tenet of the UM Creed.
Why US President's Fossil Friendliness Could Fuel a Brighter Future in Green Energy Sector l The Independent
  • Eyebrows may have been raised worldwide by Donald Trump's selection of oil-drilling advocate Rick Perry as his energy secretary, and of climate-change sceptic Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. But, these and other fossil-fuel-friendly picks may actually lead to investment opportunities in renewable energy and sustainable natural resources. Any drop in funding from political sources represents an opportunity for investors to bridge the gap. As a result, Mr Trump's election and his climate-change-sceptic cabinet may increase the role of pension schemes and other institutional investors in this area.
Shell CEO Urges Switch to Clean Energy as Plans Hefty Renewable Spending l Reuters
  • The oil and gas industry risks losing public support if progress is not made in the transition to cleaner energy, Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said on Thursday. The world's second largest publicly-traded oil company plans to increase its investment in renewable energy to $1 billion a year by the end of the decade, van Beurden said, although it is still a small part of its total annual spending of $25 billion.
 
General Higher Education News
 
Why Small to Midsize Endowments Shouldn't Follow the Ivy League l Pensions & Investments
  • Large endowments, admired for their asset allocation strategies and long-term approaches, are often touted as the ideal model for other endowments. However, as evidenced by the 2016 NACUBO Commonfund Study of Endowments, small and midsize endowments need to take a different approach or risk continuing to see negative returns.
Simon Fraser University Launches Community-Developed 20-Year Sustainability Vision and Goals l SFU News
  • After a year-long envisioning process, SFU students, faculty, staff and senior leadership joined President Andrew Petter to launch the University’s finalized 20-Year Sustainability Vision and Goals. The vision includes ambitious plans for SFU to be a globally recognized leader in sustainability, move towards 100 per cent renewable energy sources, become a zero-waste university and more.
Hood College Receives Almost $2 million Endowment for Biofuels Professor l The Frederick News Post
  • A near $2 million endowment will be used to help Hood College continue developing its biology department and build collaborations with the biotech industry. The college recently received $944,000 under a matching endowment for the “Endowed Chair in Advanced Bioproducts Research and Education” from the Maryland Department of Commerce.
Could Exits From Harvard Fund Spur Investment Startups? l Boston Globe
  • In 2016, the directors of Harvard Management Co. decided to abandon the school’s once-vaunted practice of managing a big chunk of the fund internally. The new strategy: Outsource most of the work. By endowment standards, it’s a seismic shift. About half of the fund’s 230 highly paid employees are being shown the door, sending a wave of veteran investors out to start their own firms — and vie for Harvard money. 
Becker's Robert Johnson Named Chancellor of UMass Dartmouth l 
  • Lauded as a visionary leader with a demonstrated commitment to innovation, academic excellence and the transformative power of higher education, Robert E. Johnson, president of Becker College since 2010, today was named chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth by a unanimous vote of the UMass Board of Trustees.

 

Fossil Fuel Divestment
 
Barnard College Endowment to Divest From Climate Change Deniers l Bloomberg
  • Barnard College’s board of trustees voted to divest from energy companies that deny climate change, putting into question the $286 million endowment’s relationship with its money manager Investure. The board approved the measure last week, saying the college will “distinguish between companies based on their behavior and willingness to transition to a cleaner economy.” In 2014, Investure lost a client, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which decided to divest from fossil fuel companies.
NYU Divest Works to Hold Board Member Larry Fink Accountable l Washington Square News
  • NYU Divest Trustee Of The Week goes to Larry Fink. As part of the group’s new initiative #OnBoardWithDivestment, Divest has nominated a new member of the board each week since Feb. 17. According to its website, Divest wants to hold NYU’s board accountable to the University Senate’s decision to divest university funds from fossil fuels. Each week, the group focuses on a different trustee, and reaches out to them about the board’s responsibility to listen to community members. Fink, the CEO of the financial planning company BlackRock, was nominated this week because of his connections to ExxonMobil and President Donald Trump’s campaign.
Smith College Climate Demonstrators Push Trustees for Fossil Fuel Divestment l Boston Business Journal
  • Students demonstrators last week pushed Smith College's Board of Trustees to remove all fossil fuel investments from the college's $1.7 billion endowment fund. Divest Smith College held a rally at the campus center on Elm Street and marched to Pierce Hall, where students and others sang protest songs, unfurled a banner, and delivered speeches. Meanwhile, a five-member student negotiating team walked into the back door of the hall for a scheduled meeting with trustees.
University of Denver Green Fund Offers Promise of Sustainability, But Still No Divestment l DU Clarion
  • Last month Chancellor Chopp and Chair of the Board of Trustees, Doug Scrivner, sent out an email informing stakeholders that the Board decided not to divest from fossil fuels, instead opting to create a revolving green fund.
  • Students at Connecticut College are building off of a 2008 faculty proposal for a general financial plan for clean investments that aimed to foster justice on campus by circulating a student petition for signatures supporting fossil fuel divestment.
Two UK University Divestment Wins in Two Days l Fossil Free
  • The Fossil Free UK campaign to break all ties between Britain’s 160+ higher education institutions and the fossil fuel industry received a massive boost this week.   With over 100 campaigns now active on campuses across the country, People & Planet have supported students and staff in almost a third of UK universities to divest from fossil fuels in the last 3 years.
University of Puget Sound  Board of Trustees Meeting Met with Frustration, Divestment Issue Continues l The Trail
  • Members of Puget Sound’s Environmental Campus Outreach (ECO) club attended an open meetingheld by the Board of Trustees last week to pressure the Board to divest from Fossil Fuels. After ECO club’s student led “Divest UPS” campaign last spring, the Board did not divest from fossil fuels but created an alternative Fossil Fuel Free Portfolio instead. Potential donors can choose which portfolio to contribute to, but the new portfolio is not advertised.
University of Bristol Announces New Fossil Fuel Divestment and Carbon Reduction Plans l University of Bristol Press Release
  • The University of Bristol announced this week bold plans to divest its endowment funds from the most carbon intensive sectors of the fossil fuel industry. Investments in the energy sector will now focus on companies which are having the greatest impact on reducing carbon emissions.
Investment Manager & Strategies News
 
Legg Mason Files For First Two ESG ETFs l City Wire Selector
  • Legg Mason is prepping to launch its first two environmental, social and governance (ESG) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) through affiliate ClearBridge Investments. The firm has registered the ClearBridge Dividend Equity Strategy ESG ETF and the ClearBridge Large Cap Growth ESG ETF with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Community Capital Management, Inc. (CCM), a leading fixed income impact investing manager, announced this week that it has become a signatory to the United Nations-Supported Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI), enhancing its 18-year commitment to incorporating ESG criteria into its investment philosophy and processes.
Finland’s Varma Licenses New ‘TCFD-aligned’ Climate Index Incorporating CDP Methodology (Subscription) l Responsible Investor
  • The Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company, whose €42.9bn of assets make it the largest private investor in Finland, has licensed a new climate change index from index provider STOXX that also excludes controversial weapons and tobacco. It’s part of a new index series that STOXX says is a first because it incorporates methodology of the CDP climate data body and aligns it with the Financial Stability Board’s high-level Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.
A New ETF for Green Bond Investing l Barron's
  • Fixed-income investors who favor exchange-traded funds and want to own green bonds now have a vehicle. VanEck announced this week it launched the VanEck Vectors Green Bond ETF. Green bonds are issued to fund environmentally sustainable projects. Issuance of green bonds has about doubled in the past year, according to one non-profit that tracks the sector.
UBS Wealth Management Americas Partners with Rethink Impact to Contribute to Raising Industry's Largest1 Impact Investing Fund with Gender Lens Overlay l Yahoo Finance
  • UBS Wealth Management Americas partnered with Rethink Impact, a venture capital fund, to contribute to raising $110+million, more than half of which came from UBS clients, including high net worth individuals, family offices, private foundations, and universities, for the closing of Rethink Impact. Rethink Impact is an impact investing venture capital fund investing in gender diverse, tech-enabled companies working to solve the world's biggest challenges based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).