Weekly News Round-Up: April 20th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: April 20th, 2018

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

We are pleased to welcome four new members to the Network: The Unitarian Universalist Association, Nia Impact Capital, Strategic Investment Group, and Callan! To learn more about the leadership opportunities and benefits of IEN membership, click here.

Don't forget to register for our Community Impact Investing Roundtable on June 11th at The Boston Foundation-- registration is open here! (Please note that at this time only asset owner seats are available.)

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
New IEN Members

 

 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments, Foundations & Pensions

CalPERS Invests $1B in ESG Global Equity Portfolio l Chief Investment Officer

  • The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) has invested $1 billion in a new internally managed ESG global equity portfolio and added another $260 million to a second internally managed $7.5 billion synthetic equity portfolio, showed documents presented at the system’s investment committee meeting on April 16.

Team ASEAN Storm Resilience Fund Aims to Help Communities Withstand Extreme Weather Events in Southeast Asia; Wins 2018 Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge l Business Wire

  • Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in the U.S. today announced that ASEAN Storm Resilience Fund was named the winner of the 2018 Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge. The team proposed a storm resilience fund, with a development impact bond enhancement feature, to allow investment in storm-resistant structures to help communities withstand extreme weather events in Southeast Asia.

New York City Pension Funds Announce Climate Change Study and Carbon Footprint Analysis l New York City Comptroller

  • This week, the Trustees of the New York City Pension Funds announced that they will conduct the first-ever carbon footprint analysis of their portfolios and determine how to best manage their investments with an eye toward climate change.
 
 Opportunities for Action

US SIF Foundation Opens 2018 Survey on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends l Digital Journal

  • US SIF Foundation announced today that the window for the 2018 Biennial Trends Survey is now open. The survey will provide data for the 2018 edition of its Trends report.  For reference, please see the 2016 report and this piece showing Highlights from Educational Institutions. To request a customized link to participate, contact the US SIF research team at trends@ussif.org. All survey responses are confidential. 

Proxy Season Sign-On Opportunities

 
New Reports & Resources 

Cornerstone Capital Group Publishes Report on Impact Investing Essentials l Cision

  • Cornerstone Capital Group announced this week the publication of its report titled, "Investing for Impact and Performance: The Essentials." The report provides an overview for ESG analysis when assessing investment opportunities, serving as a primer for those new to the concept.

Impact Investing Can Deliver Financial Returns with Better Data Finds New Study from Distilled Analytics and Boundless Impact Investing l Globe News Wire

  • A new market study released this week from Distilled Analytics and Boundless Impact Investing finds that despite the rapid growth of assets in impact investing, effective measurement of such investments are still elusive due largely to the lack of accurate, accessible data and outdated measurement methods. The analysis, entitled, “Data-Driven Impact: A New Era of Impact Measurement,” addresses the $23 trillion of assets managed under sustainable and impact strategies that need reliable evaluation, and uncovers how the industry can combine reliable data with innovative machine learning advancements to empower investors, drive more capital into impact sectors, and produce improved environmental and social outcomes.

 

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how Norway’s $1 trillion wealth fund is telling oil companies if they do more in renewable energy it may stick around as an investor; Simon Smiles, global chief investment officer for ultra-high net worth at UBS Wealth Management, on building sustainable investment portfolios across asset classes; Global warming is a central bank issue. 

Give your Money Real Clout With Impact Investing l Financial Times

  • This article describes two approaches to impact investing, a still new and yet to be fully embraced investing strategy. Most social impact bonds, where investors get paid by government bodies only if set outcomes are achieved, “are still at the science experiment phase”, according to this article.

Short-Sighted Investment Endangers Development Progress for Hundreds of Millions of People – UN Report l UN News

  • While a moderate upturn in the world economy led to more development financing in 2017, a new United Nations report out Friday revealed that the vast majority of investment is still short-term oriented, putting global commitments to create sustainable economies at risk.

How These Investors Saw Facebook’s Privacy Scandal Coming l Wall Street Journal

  • A handful of funds that pick stocks based on good governance scorecards weren’t at all surprised when Facebook’s share price tumbled last month following reports that a voter-profiling firm had improperly obtained profile information of tens of millions of user. They were forewarned by index provider MSCI Inc., whose analysts wrote in a June report that Facebook was “exceptionally vulnerable” to backlash from users and regulators because of its focus on “monetizing personal information.”

Can ESG Investors Halt Climate Change? l Morningstar

  • In this Q&A, Morningstar builds off of a recently hosted conference with The Investment Integration Project. The experts included Steven Lydenberg, founder and CEO of TIIP and partner at Domini Impact Investments; Robert Eccles, founding chairman of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and visiting professor of management practice at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford; and Anna Snider, head of due diligence, global wealth and investment management, CIO office at Bank of America.

Credit Suisse CEO: ‘$2.5 Trn Private Sector Will Dramatically Boost Sustainable Economy’ l Impact4All

  • In an exclusive two-part interview, Impact4All features editorNick Rice speaks to Marisa Drew, head of the Credit Suisse Impact Advisory and Finance Department, about the pivotal role of the private sector in creating a more sustainable planet.

What is Sustainable Finance? l The Economist

  • Traditionally, investors evaluated their performance based on financial measures alone. But investing with an eye to environmental or social issues, not just financial returns, has become mainstream in the past decade. According to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA), an umbrella group, fully $23trn, or 26% of all assets under management in 2016, were in “socially responsible investments” that take account of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. But what counts as “sustainable investment” in the first place?
 
Shareholder Engagement

Lazard’s 1Q 2018 Activism Review l Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation

  • This article outlines Lazard's first quarter data for campaigns conducted globally by U.S. and European activists at companies with market capitalizations greater than $500 million at time of campaign announcement.

Gadfly Pushes Conservative Spin to Shareholder Resolutions l Wall Street Journal

  • Justin Danhof a conservative shareholder advocate, is harnessing a regulatory "first-come, first-served" provision to sideline left-leaning investors from proxy ballots by lodging nearly identical proposals, but getting them in first. The tactic is helping Mr. Danhof promote and engage with company management on conservative social-policy issues.

Who’s Afraid of the Gender Pay Gap? l Market Mogul

  • Arjuna Capital, a wealth management firm focused on sustainable and impact investing, has produced a gender pay scorecard which was published this week and exposed some bitter truths. Some actors like Goldman Sachs, MetLife, Key Corp., Progressive Insurance and Discover Financial Services are among the worst performers in the Gender Pay Scorecard the firm produced, together with Proxy Impact.

Blog: Tug-Of-War Over Shareholder Proposals For Lobbying Disclosure l JDSupra

What’s novel about this year's proxy season is the entry into the arena of shareholder proponents from the right-leaning end of the political spectrum. For 2018, the National Center For Public Policy Research, which has been described as a “conservative research and communications foundation,” has submitted lobbying disclosure proposals, modeled precisely on the proposals submitted by the coalition, to several companies, also requesting full disclosure of the same types of lobbying expenditures, as a tactic to effectively preempt similar later-submitted proposals from more left-leaning organizations.

 
Fiduciary Duty

Commentary: Fiduciary Duty Yellow Flags For Proxy Season l Pensions & Investments

  • Investor fiduciaries have known for decades that proxy voting must be managed in accordance with fiduciary duties. As noted by the DOL in a December 2016 interpretive bulletin, domestic and international trends and market developments are changing the facts and circumstances that must be considered when voting proxies. This article explains how the pace of change has only accelerated since 2016.
 
Ammunition and Weapon Divestment

Boston University Should Divest from Gun Manufacturers (Opinion) l BU Today

  • This opinion piece raises the question: is the current degree of social harm caused by firearms and the firearms industry acceptable to Boston University? In spring 2006, the Board of Trustees of Boston University declared that “divestment action should be considered rarely and only in the face of human suffering that is wholly inconsistent with the moral and ethical values of Boston University.”
 
Investment Manager News

Activist Investor Jana Hired Staff For New Socially Responsible Fund l The Reuters

  • Jana Partners LLC, the activist investment firm now taking steps into socially responsible investing, has hired a portfolio manager and analyst to help oversee its effort of pushing companies to become better corporate citizens. Dan Hanson, who for a time managed socially responsible funds at BlackRock Inc, the world’s biggest asset manager, and Pulkit Agarwal, who worked at the International Finance Corporation in India before moving to the United States, were hired recently by the New York-based hedge fund.

Loomis Sayles Appoints PM as ESG Head l City Wire

  • In a newly created role, Kathleen Bochman is responsible for increasing awareness of ESG principles among Loomis Sayles’ investment teams.

J.P. Morgan Collaborates with BlackRock to Launch New ESG Suite of Indices: The J.P. Morgan ESG Index (JESG) l Business Wire

  • J.P. Morgan today announces a new suite of global fixed income indices, the J.P. Morgan ESG (“JESG”), which integrates environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in a composite benchmark. The idea for the index was conceived in collaboration with BlackRock to address growing demand from bond investors looking for a benchmark that targets emerging market (EM) issuers with strong ESG practices.

Wells Fargo to Pay $1 Billion Fine, Pledges $200 Billion for Low-Carbon Economy Projects l Green Biz

  • Wells Fargo will pay $1 billion in fines for violating federal rules and unfairly charging consumers inappropriate fees as part of its mortgage lending operation, according to a settlement the company reached with federal regulators. The federal Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced the $1 billion fine and settlement Friday, a day after the bank pledged to put $200 billion into new renewable-energy and clean-technology investments and financing, by 2030.
 
Climate Risk & Clean Energy

World's First Electrified Road for Charging Vehicles Opens in Sweden l The Guardian

  • The world’s first electrified road that recharges the batteries of cars and trucks driving on it has been opened in Sweden. About 2km (1.2 miles) of electric rail has been embedded in a public road near Stockholm, but the government’s roads agency has already drafted a national map for future expansion.

EEI Leads Electric Industry Initiative to Provide Investors with More Uniform Sustainability Reporting l Daily Energy Insider

  • Over the past two years ESG metric reporting has gone mainstream and for millennials in particular it’s a very important investment consideration, according to the vice president of energy supply and finance at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). Given that electric utilities are now more than 70 % institutionally owned, ESG reporting is “a real positive and a net value” for both firms and investors as the electric industry transitions on the generation side to cleaner energy sources, according to this article.
 
General Higher Education Endowment & Sustainability News

Harvard President Faust to Lobby for Endowment Tax Repeal l The Crimson

Background Information on Swarthmore College’s Investment Policies (Opinion) l The Phoenix

  • Swarthmore students involved in the Sunrise Movement are sponsoring a referendum next week to ask the Board of Managers to reconsider its longstanding policy regarding the weighing of social objectives within its investment policy. The author of this article believes that the change in policy is unnecessary, particularly in light of the regular due diligence that the Investment Office and Investment Committee perform to manage the Swarthmore College endowment. This article provides an overview of Swarthmore's management practices as well as efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change within their investment portfolio.

Stanford, Brandeis Endowment Vets Join Johns Hopkins l Institutional Investor

  • Johns Hopkins University’s office of investments has hired Joanna Pratt, the former investment team director for Stanford University’s endowment, and Christopher Lenox, the former director of investments at Brandeis University, for new positions.

Green Mountain College Receives Top Score for Sustainability Achievements l VT Digger

  • Green Mountain College (GMC) has been recognized as the top Baccalaureate performer by the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), receiving the highest score any baccalaureate institution has achieved. In addition to the top baccalaureate score, AASHE awarded GGMC the first ever perfect score for sustainability-based curriculum, as well as perfect scores in the areas of Sustainability Research and Air and Climate Operations.
 
Fossil Fuel Divestment

Stop Investing in Fossil Fuels: New Student Campaign Calls For Responsible Investment at UK l Kentucky Kernel

  • This article highlights the requests of members of the Divest UK campaign and their recent tabling event for UK’s Facing Change Week.

Cambridge University Council Set to Take Divestment Decision l The Varsity

  • The Cambridge University Council appears set to take a significant decision on the future of the university’s investments in fossil fuels at a meeting next week, according to an announcement made today.

Washington University Graduate Workers Union, Fossil Free Protest Saturday l Student Life

  • Members of the Washington University Graduate Workers Union and Fossil Free WashU held protests this week. The two groups collaboratively advocated for guaranteed summer funding for graduate student researchers and for the University to divest from fossil fuels companies at both of the events.

Gonzaga University Gets One Step Closer to Divesting From Fossil Fuels l Gonzaga Bulletin 

  • The efforts of Fossil Free Gonzaga (FFG) to push Gonzaga University toward divesting from companies with high carbon footprints received another showing of support from members of the GU community on April 4. The Faculty Senate approved a resolution that urges GU to divest from companies that are ranked as part of the Fossil Free Index Report of the top 200 most carbon-intensive companies. Last spring, the GSBA Senate approved a similar resolution.

Macalester College Divestment Proposal Recommended By Social Responsibility Committee, Will Go To Trustees l The MAC Weekly

  • After several months of deliberation, the Macalester College Social Responsibility Committee has unanimously voted to recommend Fossil Free Mac’s proposal of a moratorium on the college’s direct private partnerships with oil and gas investments to the Board of Trustees.
 
Calendar of Upcoming Events

 Ceres Conference 2018 l Ceres, April 24-26, 2018, Boston, MA

  • This event brings together more than 600 investor and company leaders and advocates, featuring compelling, content-rich sessions, engaging keynotes and valuable networking opportunities for attendees. 

IEN Webinar: The Importance of ESG Data & Corporate Engagement | May 10, 2018, 1:00 p.m. ET 

  • In this webinar, panelists will be discussing the importance of standardized and publically available ESG data, as well as initiatives, tools and resources to promote ESG data disclosure, and examples of investors engaging in this work. Participants will also learn how shareholder engagement can improve ESG data availability and how they can participate in the engagement process.

Mission Forward! MIE’s 2018 National Conference l Mission Investors Exchange, May 14-16, 2018, Chicago, IL

  • This conference offers an action-focused, collaborative, and personal space for foundations to renew and build partnerships, experience on-the-ground impact investments, share investment opportunities, meet leading voices in the field, and shape the future of the impact investing movement.

Davos on the Delta l iSelect Fund, May 15-17, 2018, Memphis, TN

  • This ag industry event will feature presentations, group discussions, and one-on-one networking, and participants will explore the changing agriculture landscape and the new opportunities it is creating across the value chain. 

IEN Roundtable: Community Impact Investing l Intentional Endowments Network, June 11, 2018, Boston, MA

  • The Intentional Endowments Network will host a Community Impact Investing Roundtable focused on opportunities for place-based investing. The Roundtable will convene endowment and foundation decision-makers and other stakeholders interested in enhancing their leadership on sustainable investing.

Confluence Philanthropy's 2018 Advisors Forum l June 19-20, 2018, New York, NY

  • The Advisors Forum will convene Confluence members and colleagues to explore how we can work together to scale the impact industry. Discussions will focus on cutting-edge themes including investing in diversity, inclusion, and equity; sustainability; and barriers to deal flow. IEN members will receive the member rate to participate.

The 29th Annual SRI Conference l November 1-3, 2018, Colorado Springs, CO

  • The SRI Conference is the longest-running annual gathering of investors and investment professionals working to make money and direct the flow of investment capital toward a truly sustainable future.