Weekly News Round-Up: March 24th, 2017

New IEN Members
(see list of all IEN members
 
 
Upcoming Events
 
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" 
Webinar: Age Diversity Within Boards l IRRC Institute, Mar 28, 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM EDT
  • A new report finds that there is very little age diversity within the boardrooms of S&P 500 companies. The new analysis also finds that the average age for all boards is 62.4 years, and that the average is persistent across companies by size and industry segment. 
Face Social Enterprise Through Impact Investing l Boston University Questrom School of Business, April 5, 20174-6 pm 
  • Join a groundbreaking discussion in a 'Face The Nation' format as we share a conversation with leaders in the Social Enterprise and Impact Investing world.
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.

Ceres Conference 2017: Sustainability is the Bottom Line, Inspiring Action l Ceres, April 26-27. 2017, San Francisco, CA

  • Across the globe, leading investors and corporations are accelerating innovative sustainable solutions that are building long-term value, while protecting the health of our planet and the economy. The Ceres Conference will bring together leaders who are catalyzing the biggest breakthroughs on sustainability issues and recognize that, regardless of political headwinds, sustainability is the bottom line.
 
Sustainable / ESG Investing
Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance
  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights the thin margins in the waste management business that keep many environmentally-focused investors out of recyclers, but some are finding creative ways to still play a role; Green bond issuance in the first quarter may beat 2016, but the full year looks set to fall short; Is the Trump era the best or worst of times to invest in U.S. water infrastructure?; See where beverage companies stand on cutting water use in their supply chain.
NN Investment Partners Sketches Roadmap for Investing in UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer a solid path to value creation for society and shareholders: investing in a better world while achieving healthy financial returns. NN Investment Partners (NN IP) says it has now developed a tagging approach that allows for assessing SDG exposure of companies and for investing according to the SDGs.
ESG Investing – How to Handle AI and Robotics? l Nanalyze
  • This article discusses the effect that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) will have on companies that invest heavily in artificial intelligence and robotics which stand to displace up to 80% of all jobs if you believe the hype.
ESG: Essential Steps for Successful Long Term Investing l Morningstar
  • In this Q&A, Emma Wall interviews Mats Andersson from the Global Challenges Foundation to talk about ESG, sustainable long-term returns, and the fund providers who are getting it right.
JPMAM Creates Sustainable Investing Team Following ESG Fund Launch l Investment Week
  • In a bid to expand its ESG capabilities, J. P. Morgan Asset Management (JPMAM) has created the sustainable investment leadership team (SILT), shortly after launching its Europe Sustainable Equity fund. The group's new SILT team will be led by Jamie Kramer, head of strategic product management & ESG lead for global investment management. SILT will bring together senior leaders, portfolio managers and client advisers to drive a globally coordinated strategy for sustainable investing to help clients achieve their ESG investment objectives.
An Investor Discusses Driving Change by Doing Well l Green Biz
  • This Q&A is an edited excerpt from the Bard MBA’s Sustainable Business Fridays podcast. Sustainable Business Fridays brings together students in Bard’s MBA in Sustainability program with leaders in business, sustainability and social entrepreneurship. This Q&A explores values-first versus value-first investing: Educator, author and investor Cary Krosinsky argues that the "s" differentiating the two terms represents a significant shift in the impact investing field.
Advancements in ESG l Pensions and Investments
  • The knock on ESG investing — putting money to work with an eye toward environmental, social and governance issues — has always been that to do “good” with their investments, investors had to give up return. But in the last five to 10 years, companies, not investors, have picked up the ESG baton to put this style of investing on par with traditional methods.
How Trump Presidency Is Boosting Demand for Impact Investing, ESG Funds l Think Advisor
  • Tim Freundlich, president of ImpactAssets, says investors and wealth advisors have “an increased sense of urgency in aligning and deploying high-impact capital to what they see as a fast opening gap from government policies.” As a result of that urgency, he’s seeing more inflows into private debt and equity investments where “investors believe they can directly move the dial on impact through companies and funds.”
Musing About the Alphabet Soup of ESG, SRI, CSR, Etc. l G&A Sustainability Updates
  • Often in our conversations with managers at companies that are new to corporate sustainability and especially new to publishing corporate sustainability reports, we often move into exploration of the various terms and titles applied to corporate sustainability. This article outlines the different terms used and which ones are most frequently used today.
Green Bonds
 
BlackRock Launches Dedicated Green Bond Fund After Client Demand (Subscription) l Responsible Investor
  • BlackRock is launching a dedicated green bond fund, tracking the MSCI/Barclays/Bloomberg index at the request of clients. The UCITS fund will be euro-based – although it will include global currencies – and will be co-managed by Ashley Schulten, Head of Climate Solutions for Fixed Income, out of New York, and fixed-income portfolio manager Darren Wills out of London.
  • Demonstrating strong investor opposition to special interest efforts to weaken key elements of the shareholder resolution process (SEC rule 14a-8), a group of leading investor organizations representing $65 trillion in assets wrote last week to the Trump administration urging support for the SEC’s existing shareholder proposal process, which is providing wide-ranging benefits. The letter was sent Friday to Gary D. Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, who was urged in a February Business Roundtable (BRT) letter to amend or repeal allegedly burdensome regulations such as portions of SEC rule 14a-8.
Trillium Successfully Withdraws Greenhouse Gas Shareholder Proposal at Tractor Supply Company l Trillium Asset Management
  • Trillium Asset Management is pleased to announce that they have successfully withdrawn their 2017 shareholder proposal filed at Tractor Supply Company. The proposal asked the company to “…adopt quantitative, time-bound, company-wide, science-based goals for reducing total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from products and operations.” Trillium withdrew the proposal following a commitment from the company to set quantitative GHG reduction targets. The goals will cover both scope 1 and scope 2 emissions from their 1,600 stores located across 49 states. The company has committed to make these goals public by the end of 2018. Following their emissions evaluation Tractor Supply will begin responding to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
Climate Risk, Science & Regulation
 
  • The record-breaking heat that made 2016 the hottest year ever recorded has continued into 2017, pushing the world into “truly uncharted territory”, according to the World Meteorological Organisation. The WMO’s assessment of the climate in 2016, published on Tuesday, reports unprecedented heat across the globe, exceptionally low ice at both poles and surging sea-level rise.
Paris Accord Could Make the World $19 Trillion Richer l Bloomberg
  • Efforts to slow climate change won’t just keep the planet habitable. They will also boost the world economy by $19 trillion. Investments in renewable power and energy efficiency will add about 0.8 percent to global gross domestic product by 2050, the International Renewable Energy Agency, or Irena, said Monday in a report produced for the German government. Governments are committing resources to green energy in a bid to keep warming within 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), of pre-industrial conditions, in accordance with the landmark Paris Agreement on global warming.
General Higher Education and Endowment News
 
Three Ways Universities Can Dramatically Advance Social Enterprise l Stanford Social Innovation Review
  • Alistair Wilson, CEO of School for Social Entrepreneurs, recently made a compelling argument about the limitations of universities in advancing social entrepreneurship. Chief among Wilson’s concerns is the vast number of people excluded from the traditional approach to teaching social enterprise and the importance of including voices far from campus in solving social problems.
Ex-Harvard Endowment Bond Manager Marco Barrozo Opens Hedge Fund l Bloomberg
  • Former Harvard University bond manager Marco Barrozo has launched a hedge fund as the industry comes off its worst year since the financial crisis. Barrozo raised more than $125 million for Cambridge Square Capital, according to filings this month with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The fixed-income fund, located in Boston, has begun trading and is raising more capital, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Fossil Fuel Divestment
 
How to Get the Most from DivestmentGuide.org l Divestment Guide
  • This article introduces DivestmentGuide.org, a project of DivestInvest Individual. The site is designed to augment collective NGO and business community efforts leveraging financial markets to reduce climate risk, making it easier to invest fossil fuel free, and accelerating the clean energy transition. Visit our About page to learn the approach and values driving site content.
College’s Break With Climate Change Deniers Riles Debate Over Divestment Strategies l The Huffington Post
  • Barnard College’s Board of Trustees announced earlier this month that it had made a “unique” climate decision. After months of deliberation and mounting pressure from students, faculty and activists, Barnard, like hundreds of other institutions and colleges, had decided to divest from fossil fuels. Unlike some institutions that have opted for full divestment from the industry, the New York college had chosen a different tactic: It would instead specifically divest from companies that “deny climate science or otherwise seek to thwart efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change.”
Despite Rumors, De Anza Foundation Divestment From Fossil Fuels Confirmed l La Voz News
  • De Anza Foundation has confirmed their 2013 commitment completion to fully disconnect with companies and organizations that use fossil fuels by June 2014. De Anza and Foothill’s foundations were the first of community colleges in the United States to vote for a commitment of fossil fuel divestment in 2013.
  • Cambridge University Zero Carbon Society is preparing for an escalation of direct action if the university council does not follow through with their demands for achieving divestment.
University of California Student Group Applauds News That UC Will Divest $150M in Fossil Fuels l The Davis Enterprise
  • The University of California has shed another $150 million in fossil-fuel investments, divesting from Sunoco and Energy Transfer Partners, two companies building the Dakota Access Pipeline. This comes after an announcement in September 2015 that UC had divested $200 million from coal and tar sands direct investments. After years of work by students, faculty, alumni, university workers and community members to push UC to divest from fossil fuels, students see this divestment as a step in the right direction and are cautiously celebrating their efforts.
Divest Harvard Plans to Blockade Massachusetts Hall l The Harvard Crimson
  • Divest Harvard plans to occupy Massachusetts Hall, which houses the offices of University President Drew G. Faust and other top University administrators, sometime next week in protest of the University's decision not to divest from the coal industry. Members of the activist group, which protests Harvard’s investment in the fossil fuel industry, had originally intended the blockade for Wednesday, though the group cancelled the demonstration after The Crimson learned of the plans. 
Columbia University to Divest from Thermal Coal Producers l Chief Investment Officer
  • Columbia University’s trustees have voted to divest from companies that earn a significant portion of their revenue from thermal coal production.  The university’s trustees have voted to divest from companies that take in more than 35% of their revenue from thermal coal production per the recommendation of its Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing.
York University Committee Recommends Divestment From Weapons and Fossil Fuels l Yahoo Finance
  • The York University Advisory Committee on Responsible Investment (YUACRI) has voted to recommend the University's divestment from arms manufacturers and fossil fuels. YUACRI was established in 2012 to integrate environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) considerations into investment management processes and ownership practices concerning York's $413 million endowment fund.