Weekly News Round-Up: April 19, 2019

Please find this week's news round-up below.

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This week there was no shortage of headline-grabbing events, including a few about about sustainability and endowment investing. As we read more news on the climate crisis, we are grateful to be part of a network that is helping to transform our economy to address it.

Take a look at how we’re supporting each other to advance the field of sustainable endowment investing in IEN’s just-released 2018 Impact Report, and consider attending one of our upcoming events as a catalyst for more action in your own institution.

Have a great weekend, 

Hannah Bowen
Network Manager, The Intentional Endowments Network

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IEN in the News

Impact Report 2018 | Intentional Endowments Network

  • This report highlights the impact we have had together as IEN members and with our broader networks.

Student Group Hosts Corporate Responsibility Conference | Yale Daily News

  • Stock investors, social activists, policymakers and students from across the country gathered in Dwight Hall on Saturday and Sunday for the Student Conference for Corporate Responsibility hosted by the Dwight Hall Socially Responsible Investment Fund with the support of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility and the Intentional Endowments Network.

Letter to the Editor: Tulane Undergraduate Student Government Sustainability Committee | Tulane Hullabaloo

  • Students urge the university to take action on climate, including asking “the administration to commit to providing yearly representation at the Higher Education Leadership Summit presented by Second Nature and the Intentional Endowments Network, as this is the yearly meeting associated with the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments signed by President Cowen.”


Opportunities for Action

2019 Proxy Memos and Exempt Solicitations | Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

  • The 2019 corporate annual general meeting season has begun, and that means it's time to vote your proxy ballots. So why is this important? Votes in favor of shareholder resolutions in the double digits are very successful in focusing management and investor attention on issues. Several hundred shareholder resolutions will be coming up for a vote by stockholders this year. This page contains a list of relevant proxy exempt solicitations and proxy memos, with the arguments for why you should vote in favor.

Investor Statement of Access to Medicine Index | Access to Medicine Foundation

  • Sign on deadline: Ongoing. The Access to Medicine Foundation invites the investor community, including college and university endowments, to sign on the Investor Statement of the Access to Medicine Index, committing to take into account the analysis generated from the Index in their ESG analysis and engagement with pharmaceutical companies. To date, 89 investors collectively managing assets in excess of USD 11 trillion have already signed the Statement. Contact Thomas Collin-Lefebvre for more information.

GIIN Survey: Understanding Faith-Based Investing | Global Impact Investing Network

  • Deadline: April 26, 2019. The GIIN invites organizations that manage a faith-based investment portfolio, e.g., use tenets/values of faith to shape the organization’s investment policies and processes, to participate in a new GIIN study. Collection of this data contributes to a wider effort at the GIIN to raise awareness about faith-based investors’ activities and support their efforts to align values with investment strategies, particularly as it relates to impact investing. Findings from the survey will be released in a report available to the public, and respondents will receive priority access to the publication. For more information on the GIIN’s new efforts to engage faith-based investors, please contact Katrina Ngo, Senior Manager at kngo@thegiin.org.

SIILK Mentorship Program | Intentional Endowments Network

  • The newly launched SIILK Network Mentorship Program was designed to connect current students with experts from the sustainable investing industry, with the ultimate goal of creating a more diverse pipeline of finance professionals with a solid grasp on sustainable investing. If you are a current professional at an IEN member institution working in any area of the sustainable investing industry, please consider signing up to be a mentor, and if you are a current graduate or undergraduate student interested in being paired with a mentor who will provide career and/or project-based support, please consider signing up to be a mentee.
  • This scholarship was started and is coordinated by a group of First Affirmative Financial Network emeriti and longtime affiliates to bring young people to The SRI Conference. Applications will be accepted from April 1st through July 8th, 2019. Winners will be announced in late September. For questions or additional information on this program, please contact SRIscholarship15@gmail.com, and to apply, follow the link above.

Investor Statement Regarding the Need for Corporate Gender Equity Transparency | As You Sow

  • Deadline: May 3, 2019 As You Sow invites investors to sign onto an investor statement focused on increasing corporate disclosures related to gender equity. Currently, investors have a paucity of gender and workplace equity data. According to Equileap, an Amsterdam based non-profit gender research aggregator, only 37% of desired gender equality data is publicly reported. Data is lacking across 19 gender equality criteria, including the gender balance of the workforce and executive team, equal pay, parental leave, non-discriminatory hiring and promotion, and supply chain safety. Equileap's research is used to create an annual global ranking of companies leading the way in gender equity.

ExxonMobil Investor Proposal on Lobbying | United Steelworkers International Union

  • Shareholder Meeting: May 29, 2019. The United Steelworkers International Union (USW) urges shareholders to vote FOR Item 10, Report on Lobbying at the ExxonMobil Shareholder Meeting on May 29, 2019. The proposal calls on ExxonMobil to prepare a report, to be updated annually, disclosing policies and procedures governing lobbying, the Company’s payments for direct and indirect lobbying, or grassroots lobbying communications, and the management’s and Board’s decision making process and oversight for making such lobbying payments.The proposal is part of an ongoing investor campaign for greater more transparency about corporate lobbying expenditures designed to influence legislation and regulation.

New Resources & Reports

The Worth of Endowments in Higher Education | Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges

  • A general lack of understanding about college and university endowments is contributing to public skepticism about the value of higher education. As fiduciaries of this sector’s nearly 5,000 institutions of charitable and public purpose, higher education board members are accountable for upholding the value of their own institutions and are well-positioned to help higher education’s beneficiaries understand how endowments contribute to the work of colleges and universities in general. Further, every board member should have a working knowledge of endowments even if his or her institution currently has little or no endowed funds. This brief report provides that necessary overview.

Investing with Impact | iSelect

  • This white paper from IEN member iSelect Fund outlines the opportunities for impact investing in the venture capital space. Available for download with free registration.


Sustainable Investing By Institutional Asset Owners

New York State Comptroller Releases Recommendations From Decarbonization Advisory Panel | Office of the New York State Comptroller

  • The six-member Decarbonization Advisory Panel, the first of its kind for a public pension fund, was formed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Comptroller DiNapoli in 2018. It is comprised of investment, financial, environmental, energy and legal experts that served voluntarily. The panel was charged with offering strategies for the Comptroller’s consideration on how the Fund might identify, assess and manage the investment risks and opportunities of climate change. In the report released this week, the panel offered a series of recommendations to further decarbonize the Fund and capitalize on a low-carbon economy.

New Zealand Super to Divest from Seven Gun Companies | Chief Investment Officer

  • Following its proxy coalition against tech companies following the Christchurch massacre, the New Zealand Superannuation fund has announced divestment from seven gun manufacturers. The decision is in line with a new law passed on April 10. The NZ$41 billion super fund ($27.7 billion) will divest from companies “involved in the manufacture of civilian automatic and semi-automatic firearms, magazines or parts prohibited under New Zealand law,” according to the organization.

How the World’s Largest Pension Manager Is Trying to Make ESG Investing More Popular | Barron’s

  • The financial industry has jumped on the impact investing and ESG bandwagon. But Hiromichi Mizuno, the man who oversees $1.6 trillion in the world’s largest public pension fund, says true believers on Wall Street are still hard to find, so he is taking his own steps to push ESG and impact investing off the sidelines. As chief investment officer of Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, Mizuno requires his asset managers to integrate ESG into their investment analysis.

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

(Watch) Global Launch of the Operating Principles for Impact Management | World Bank Group

  • Watch this event introducing the Operating Principles for Impact Management—a new market standard for impact investing. The International Finance Corporation, private sector arm of the World Bank Group, brought together sixty global investors, collectively holding over $350 billion in assets invested for impact, to adopt the Principles. The Principles bring greater transparency, credibility, and discipline to the impact investing market, addressing concerns about “impact-washing.” IFC developed the Principles in collaboration with leading asset managers, asset owners, asset allocators, development banks, and financial institutions, including a three-month public stakeholder consultation.

Boards Can Balance Profit & Social Purpose | Directors & Boards

  • Interview with Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo Strine, in the state where two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated and whose corporate laws are often considered the de facto law of the land. “A lot of my focus has been on what the obligations of institutional investors are to align their behavior with the interests of the people whose money they have. If you can get more of that thoughtful thinking, then perhaps the incentive structure for boards is less moment to moment…. The struggle is to align the powerful input that the market provides with the interest of those people it’s supposed to serve.”

Education Will Unleash Interest in Social Investing: BNY's Newton | Think Advisor

  • There is an untapped demand for socially responsible investing, and investment advisors and other asset managers would do well to not only educate themselves on SRI, but do the “the heavy lifting” and help clients — especially millennials — to understand and guide them through the process, according to a new study by BNY Mellon Investment Management’s Newton Investment Management. The need for evidence in impact investing “is a symptom, not a cause, of lack of investment,” the investment firm says.

Investors Appetite for Impact Investing About $26 Trillion: IFC | Times Now News

  • The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, says that appetite for impact investing is growing globally and could be as high as 26 trillion dollars. At the same time, small and medium enterprise (SME) finance gap for women entrepreneurs in developing countries is 1.48 trillion dollars. The private sector is key to bridging this gap.

ESG Investing Matures | Hedgeweek

  • Observations from Piet Klop, Senior Advisor Responsible Investment, PGGM, a leading Dutch pension fund service provider with approximately EUR211 billion in AUM at the Amsterdam Investor Forum 2019. Discusses ESG approaches from both a risk and opportunity perspective.

Shareholder Engagement

Climate Group With $32 Trillion Pushes Companies for Transparency | Bloomberg Businessweek

  • Climate Action 100+, a network including a number of IEN Members, is pushing for companies to detail exactly how climate change will affect their businesses so shareholders can decide which to support.

ESG, Proxy Voting Trends Unlikely to Shift on Executive Order | PlanSponsor

  • The White House issued an executive order on the evolving topic of proxy voting and ESG investing programs being put into practice by retirement plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).The ultimate impact of President Trump’s new executive order is likely to be more symbolic than substantive when it comes to the real-world activities of retirement plan fiduciaries and investment managers.

If You're Skeptical About ESG, You'll Love This Data | Financial Advisor IQ

  • The investment research company Morningstar recently assembled two reports of statistics to show how often managers of some of the ESG-oriented funds have voted in favor of shareholder proposals. Specifically, Morningstar tracked votes on proposals related to greenhouse gas and climate change in the first of its two reports, and on related gender-diversity in its second. In general, shareholder activism offers ESG-focused investors an “often overlooked” tool for achieving their goals

Shell Activist Investor Withdraws Climate Resolution for 2019 | Bloomberg

  • An activist shareholder that filed resolutions for three years pressuring Royal Dutch Shell Plc to do more on climate change said it will withdraw the filing for 2019. In backing down, investor-group Follow This is signaling Shell has made positive strides. The Anglo-Dutch oil major recently set concrete targets to cut its carbon footprint and said it will take responsibility for reducing its customers’ emissions. It disagrees with some lobby groups it is a member of, which may compel the agencies to stop blocking climate policies.

Yum! Brands Shows Leadership among Fast Food Peers, Takes Encouraging First Step to Mitigate Its Climate Change Impacts | Ceres

  • Yum! Brands took “an important first step” to mitigate its impacts on climate change and align with investor expectations on greenhouse gas emission reductions, according to investors who reached an agreement today with the fast food giant. Investors have recently ratcheted up pressure on the fast food sector around its greenhouse gas emissions and its exposure to climate, water and deforestation risks.

Investors Question Chevron’s Clean Energy Commitment in Anadarko Deal | Wall Street Journal

  • Chevron Corp.’s $33 billion deal for Anadarko Petroleum Corp. faces opposition from some environmentally focused shareholders who consider it risky to expand in fossil fuels as companies and governments world-wide increasingly mull investments in clean energy. (Subscription required to access)

Gender Lens Investing

Cultivating The Next Generation Of Women On The Forbes Midas List | Forbes

  • Describes the work of Different, a research platform that evaluates venture funds so that investors can heed findings by the National Association of Investment Companies and Cambridge Associates that venture funds run by diverse managers who invest in early-stage companies outperform the sector. To answer questions from institutional investors and venture capitalists about the women who are leading over 100 emerging manager funds, Different produced the 2019 Women Leading Venture Report.

Gender and Diversity Funds: Intentional or Not? | Morningstar

  • A prospectus or press release can state a fund’s support for gender-diversity initiatives, but their voting records show their conviction. Using Morningstar’s holdings database and Morningstar's Fund Votes database, this analysis measures the level of a fund’s intentionality in three ways: what funds buy, how funds vote, and how funds describe themselves.

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

TRS Expands Diversity Recruiting by Partnering with Howard U | Chief Investment Officer

  • With the unemployment rate for accounting and financial sector professionals at a low 2.2%, recruiting top, diverse talent in financial fields can be a challenge for public funds, but the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) just formed a partnership with Howard University School of Business  to help create a conduit to lure talent to the $153 pension fund and broaden recruiting efforts for the system’s investment management division.

At Pension Bridge: How Susan Oh Is Raising Diversity Awareness for Female Investors | Chief Investment Officer

  • Profile of Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System’s director of risk parity, currency hedging, and strategic implementation, with her observations on the need for greater diversity in the industry.


Community Impact Investing

Treasury Issues New Guidances on Opportunity Zones | UPI

  • The Treasury Department released new guidelines for the so-called opportunity zones provision of the 2017 tax law. The guidances provided Wednesday sought to provide flexibility, certainty and clarity for investors and fund managers seeking to take advantage of the program that rewards capital gains and tax breaks for investing in specified low-income areas.

Creating Opportunity for Communities of Color Through Entrepreneurship | Stanford Social Innovation Review

  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation has made several social investments to boost lenders’ ability to provide financing to more entrepreneurs of color so that they can purchase necessities such as equipment, materials, or commercial real estate. Entrepreneurship can help build individual and community wealth, but only if we are intentional in our efforts. This piece reflects on lessons for both grantmakers and investors.


Investment Firm News

Rockefeller Foundation Wants to Manage Investors’ Money | Wall Street Journal

  • One of the richest and oldest foundations in the U.S. wants to start managing outside money. The Rockefeller Foundation has created a unit that will raise funds from investors and place it in companies or products it determines are benefiting society at large. (Subscription required to access)

Mapping Climate-related Risks | BlackRock

  • BlackRock have used data from Rhodium Group to estimate potential direct financial damages, as well as indirect effects such as the impact of rising average temperatures on crop yields or labor productivity. The heat map shows projected changes in regional economic activity under a “no climate action” scenario assuming ongoing use of fossil fuels. The risks are asymmetric: Some 58% of U.S. metro areas would see likely gross domestic product (GDP) losses of 1% or more by 2080, with less than 1% set to enjoy gains of similar magnitude. The biggest likely losers: Arizona, the Gulf Coast region and coastal Florida.

Morgan Stanley Takes Aim at 'Systemic' Plastic Waste Crisis with Flurry of Financial Pledges | Business Green

  • Morgan Stanley is to spearhead a raft of new financial measures to help fund "systemic" solutions to the global plastic waste crisis, after announcing a goal to prevent, reduce, and remove 50 million metric tonnes of plastic waste from water and land by 2030. (Subscription required to access)

iShares Thomson Reuters Inclusion & Diversity ETF | What Investment

  • Discussion of a new ETF, a collaboration between BlackRock (iShares) and Thomson Reuters, which tracks an index of 100 companies that have the most diverse and inclusive workplaces. These are drawn from 2,000 publicly traded companies across developed and emerging markets.

Acumen Closes $70 Million Impact Fund for Clean Energy in Africa | Bloomberg

  • Jacqueline Novogratz’s impact investing group closed an almost $70 million fund to back companies delivering affordable and renewable energy to mostly poor consumers in East Africa. KawiSafi Ventures seeks to bring clean energy to 10 million people with investments in fast-growing companies while also making competitive returns. Early investors in the fund include TED curator Chris Anderson, the Skoll Foundation, venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson and the Green Climate Fund.

KKR Becomes Founding Signatory to Impact Investing Principles in Effort to Create Alignment across Industry | BusinessWire

  • KKR announced that it has become a founding signatory to the Operating Principles for Impact Management, a new market standard for impact investing introduced by the IFC. KKR joins 59 other signatories, collectively representing over $350 billion in assets invested for impact, in their commitment to managing their impact investments in accordance with these Principles, which are meant to bring greater transparency, credibility, and discipline to the impact investing market.

UBS Asset Management Launches First ETF to Integrate Sustainability Screening | ETF Trends

  • UBS AM joined forces with S&P Dow Jones Indices and RobecoSAM to create a new generation of ETF that is built upon the S&P 500 ESG Index to meet demands for more sustainability focused investors. The new ETF enables investors to get similar exposure to the S&P 500 equity index but with an integrated environmental, social and governance (ESG) screening which divests from companies that score poorly on ESG criteria, or are producers of tobacco or controversial weapons.

Moody’s Acquires ESG Research and Data Firm Vigeo Eiris | Pensions & Investments

  • Paris-based Vigeo Eiris will work with Moody's to provide investors and issuers with data, research, products and solutions to enhance and develop the incorporation of ESG factors into investors' strategy and operations. Moody's announced the creation of a new assessment business following a plan to expand into areas of risk other than credit and is planning further expansion into non-credit risk assessment, such as cybersecurity risk.

Student Managed Funds

Eco-friendly Investment Fund ‘Off to a Good Start,’ Officials Say | GW Hatchet

  • Administrators and students discussed the future of the University’s one-year-old Sustainable Investment Fund at a roundtable discussion. The event featured a presentation and discussion with employees from Strategic Investment Group, an Arlington-based firm that manages both the $2 million fund and the University’s $1.8 billion endowment. Officials created the Sustainable Investment Fund in February 2018 after a yearslong push from SA leaders and student activists for the University to divest from companies involved in the extraction of fossil fuels. Any profits from the fund are funneled into student financial aid..

Carbon Yield Fund Wins 2019 Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge | BusinessWire

  • Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in the U.S. today announced that Carbon Yield Fund was named the winner of the 2019 Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge. The team was one of 12 finalists competing in the Challenge at Morgan Stanley’s Hong Kong offices on Friday. The team proposed a solution to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing organic farming practices.

Just Transition to a Sustainable Economy

(Opinion) A Market-Driven Green New Deal? We’d Be Unstoppable | New York Times

  • Rocky Mountain Institute argues that any serious energy transformation effort will need to harness America’s immensely powerful and creative economic engine, not dismantle it. This means unleashing the market in sectors where we already know how to profitably reduce emissions (electricity, transportation, buildings), creating markets for solutions in areas where there aren’t yet enough answers (heavy industry, agriculture) and fixing market failures (unpriced carbon, for instance, or rewarding utilities for selling more electricity rather than cutting your bill).

Over 4,200 Amazon Workers Push for Climate Change Action, Including Cutting Some Ties to Big Oil | New York Times

  • Employees at big tech companies have pushed back against their employers for working with the military and law enforcement offices, and demanded better treatment of women and minorities. Now, thousands of them are also taking on climate change. This week, more than 4,200 Amazon employees called on the company to rethink how it addresses and contributes to a warming planet. The action is the largest employee-driven movement on climate change to take place in the influential tech industry.

Wyoming Coal Is Likely Declining Faster than Expected | Casper Star Tribune

  • Where some have hoped that Wyoming coal declines slow enough for the state to absorb, others note a growing risk of more painful and sudden changes. The most clear and pressing problem if Wyoming’s coal sector weakens considerably is tax revenue. Coal is the economic foundation of the state, along with the oil and gas industry, and it allows Wyomingites to receive more benefits and public services than it pays for.


Climate Risk, Science, and Clean Energy

How Big Business Is Hedging Against the Apocalypse | New York Times Magazine

America’s Record High Energy Consumption, Explained in 3 Charts | Vox

  • The US Energy Information Administration dropped some troubling new data this week: US energy consumption hit a record high in 2018 in large part due to the growing use of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels provided 80 percent of total energy used in 2018. Consumption of natural gas and petroleum grew by 4 percent, while coal consumption declined by 4 percent compared to the year before. Renewable energy production also reached a record high last year, climbing 3 percent relative to 2017.

(Opinion) Trump Leaks the Blueprints for the Climate Death Star | The Nation

  • Bill McKibben writes that President Trump” issued the two executive orders "to help ram through pipelines and other fossil-fuel infrastructure, even when the cities and states through which they pass oppose them, and to slow down the rush of pension funds now divesting their holdings from the fossil-fuel industry.”

Climate Goals Could Sink Oil Demand from Mid 2020s: LGIM | Reuters

  • Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM), which manages assets worth 1 trillion pounds ($1.3 trillion) worldwide, said oil demand could start to decline from 2025 if countries impose strict policies to curb climate change. The impact of moves to ensure the global rise in temperature remains below 2 degrees Celsius could be such that by the early 2040s oil demand would have dropped by around 40 percent from current levels to below 60 million barrels a day. However, if no new climate policies are implemented, oil demand could plateau at around 110 million barrels a day from around 2030.

It’s Official: Chicago Will Go 100% Renewable | PV Magazine

  • The City Council has approved Mayor Emanuel’s plan to transition the entire city’s electricity supply to renewable energy by 2035, which makes Chicago the largest U.S. city to set a 100% renewable energy commitment.

Starbucks Is Investing in Solar Farms and Buying Power From Others | Bloomberg

  • Starbucks Corp. is boosting its investments in clean power. The Seattle-based coffee giant is investing in tax equity from a portfolio of eight Cypress Creek Renewables LLC solar farms in Texas, according to a statement Monday. Terms weren’t disclosed. In tax-equity deals, companies passively invest in power projects in return for using renewable-energy credits that offset their own tax liabilities.

‘Rebel or sink’: Rallies Against Government Inaction on Climate Change Go Global | Eco-Business

  • Environmental civil disobedience movement Extinction Rebellion (XR), which started in the UK last year, has spread to more than 40 countries including India, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Solomon Islands, where protesters from more than 350 XR groups are blockading major roads in city centres to demand action on what the group calls “the global climate and ecological emergency.” The “international rebellion” began on 15 April and is to run for a week.

Earth Day 2019: Carbon Footprint of a Texas Wildcatter Gone Climate Advocate | Gitterman Wealth Management

  • April 22, 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Just as active managers use shareholder resolutions to address corporate governance, social, and environmental change, on the other side of the trade are individuals driving the demand of goods and services. Understanding your personal metrics and carbon footprint amidst this symbiotic relationship is an empowered act.

Climate Change Protesters Descend on France's SocGen, Energy Companies | Reuters

  • Climate activists blocked thousands of employees from entering the headquarters of French bank Societe Generale, state-run utility EDF and oil giant Total, environmental group Greenpeace said, protesting against company links to the oil and gas industry, which it calls a driving force in global warming.

General Higher Education Endowment News

Survey: Majority of Endowment Funds Are Looking into Cryptocurrencies | Inside Bitcoins

  • During a survey from Global Custodian, The TRADE Crypto, and BitGo, it was revealed that 94% of endowment funds are looking into cryptocurrencies, reports TheTradeNewsCrypto. The survey pulled information from 150 respondents in Q4 of 2018. The majority stated they have put money into “crypto-related initiatives” in the past year.


General Higher Education Sustainability News

“No Bigger Challenge for Our Planet.” Behind a Campus Gift for Energy Science | Inside Philanthropy

  • News out of Pennsylvania suggests that universities looking to capitalize on the STEM gold rush may want to take a closer look at the emerging field of energy science. The field, which explores the scientific and technological problems related to energy, just received an impressive stamp of approval in the form of P. Roy Vagelos and Diana T. Vagelos’ $50 million gift to the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences.

A Call for 100% Renewable Energy at Barnard | Columbia Spectator

  • In this op-ed, students ask Barnard to commit to transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy on campus by no later than 2040.

Fossil Fuel Divestment

We Won’t Speak at Your Commencement — and Hope No One Else Will Either | Chronicle of Higher Education

  • Christiana Figueres and Bill McKibben write that they have begun refusing to accept honorary degrees from colleges that won’t divest their endowments of fossil fuels. The endowment is as much a part of a college as the dining hall or the gymnasium, and institutions can’t pretend to be blind to the impact that their investment decisions can have on improving or destroying our planet.

Wesleyan Student Assembly Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels | Wesleyan Argus

  • The Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) initially invested 25 percent of its endowment, the first student body endowment in the country, into the Wesleyan Endowment as a demonstration of commitment to the University and trust that investment decisions would be made ethically and in line with student interests. Following the University’s resistance to student demands to divest from fossil fuels, the WSA chose to divest from the University.

Divestment in Fossil Fuels: A Preventive Public Health Strategy | Psychiatric Times

  • The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has recognized the profound effects of climate change on mental health. In March 2017 the APA adopted a position paper on Climate Change and Mental Health, which is the official stance guiding the organization’s actions and activities. Building on the APA’s commitment to “engage in efforts to mitigate adverse health impacts,” the Climate Psychiatry Alliance (CPA) developed a proposal for the APA to divest from fossil fuel companies.

University of Kentucky Students, Staff Partner to Improve Transparency in Endowment Investment Program | UK Now

  • The idea behind the creation of the student organization — Divest UK — was to advocate for including social and environmental considerations into the University of Kentucky’s endowment investment program and strategies. For much of the past year, Divest UK has been working with the investment staff in University Financial Services toward that goal. One of the first issues they have tackled together is greater transparency related to the endowment and making information more easily accessible to the public.

(Listen) Universities Invest Billions Worldwide. Michigan State University Students Say Those Investments Should Be More Transparent. | WVPE (NPR)

  • A group of students at Michigan State University wants the school to be more transparent about where it invests its money. Nat Hooper and Grace Michienzi, are research assistants at the Center for Community and Economic Development at Michigan State, explain what questions they have about the university’s investment practices, and how responsive school officials have been to their request for financial transparency. An additional story, MSU helped lead 1970s movement to divest from apartheid-era South Africa, looks at MSU’s history of divestment activism.

Endowments and Carbon Neutrality: A Class Project on Asset Realignment | LinkedIn

  • Peter Adriaens, Professor of Engineering, Finance and Entrepreneurship and director of the Center for Smart Infrastructure Finance at The University of Michigan, describes what students found when they investigated the options for divesting or otherwise beginning to reallocate the University’s endowment funds away from oil and gas holdings.

Editorial: Time to Divest From Fossil Fuels | Cornell Daily Sun

  • Campus newspaper editors call for Cornell University to fully divest from fossil fuel companies.

Brandeis Climate Justice Calls for University to Divest from Fossil Fuels | The Justice

  • Brandeis Climate Justice called for the University to divest by circulating a script among the community and prospective students on Admitted Students Day. The script, to be used when for calling or emailing University President Liebowitz and the Board of Trustees, thanks the Board of Trustees for agreeing to “not invest in coal and to freeze other existing fossil fuel investments for the next three years,” but says it is “not enough.”

Calendar of Upcoming Events

IEN Events:

Intentionally Designed Endowment Roundtable at Total Impact Philadelphia | May 2, 2019, 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. ET, Philadelphia, PA

Community Impact Investing Roundtable 2019 | Intentional Endowments Network, September 6, 2019, Berkeley, CA

Other Events:

How Foundations can Advance Racial Equity through Impact Investing | Mission Investors Exchange and Stanford Social Innovation Review, April 23, 2019, 2-3p.m. ET, webinar

Ceres Conference 2019 | Ceres, April 29 - May 1, San Francisco, CA

Impact Investing Day: Building an Ecosystem of Responsible Capital and a Future of Regenerative Economies | Travois and AltCap, May 1, 2019, Kansas City, MO

Total Impact Philadelphia 2019 l Total Impact, May 1-2, 2019, Philadelphia, PA 

American Climate Leadership Summit 2019 | May 1-2, 2019, Washington, DC

2019 Opportunity Zone Expo Las Vegas | Opportunity Zone Expo, May 9-10, 2019, Las Vegas, NV, Interested members should contact Kaede Kawauchi to access a $50 registration discount as an IEN member.

Davos on the Delta l iSelect Fund, May 14-15, 2019, Memphis, TN

9th Annual Conference: New Challenges New Opportunities | US SIF, June 10-12, 2019, Minneapolis, MN

OCIO Solutions Summit | Investment Management Institute, June 12, 2019, Stamford, CT, Interested members should contact Kaede Kawauchi to access the following member discounts:

  • IEN endowment members - Room and board will be covered, $350 registration fee (80% off the original price), Opportunity to speak on a panel
  • IEN asset manager members - $200 off the original price

2nd Annual Advisors Forum | Confluence Philanthropy, June 24-25, 2019, San Francisco, CA, Member pricing available for IEN members.

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