Weekly News Round-Up: May 19th, 2017

Upcoming Events

  • This full day program will deliberate on best practices in impact investing, and how they generate measurable social, environmental and economic results through bridging the gap between purpose and profit. Georges Dyer will be speaking on a panel titled "The Power of the SDG: How It Might Align Performance and Scale Risk Control."
Webinar: Sustainable Agriculture Investing l Intentional Endowments Network, May 31st, 2017, 1:00 PM EDT
  • Sada Geuss, an Investment Manager from Trillium Asset Management, will present on Trillium’s recently released White Paper on Sustainable Agriculture. Maria Lettini, Director of the Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return (FAIRR) Initiative, will focus on the risks associated with investments in factory farming and the animal protein sector, and will offer some examples of diversification of the protein supply chain. Don Wiviott, Partner at Sustainable Farm Partners, will discuss the investment opportunities in grain production and carbon capture. 
Impact Capitalism Summit - Nantucket | Big Path Capital, July 19-20, 2017, Nantucket, MA 
  • This Summit will focus on key factors that are changing the impact investing landscape. IEN will be partnering with Big Path, Ceres, and others to host a pre-Summit event focused on opportunities for investing in clean energy and climate solutions. 
Webinar: Introducing "Investing in Peace" | Investing in Peace, May 31, 2017, 1pm EDT
  • This webinar will provide an introduction to "Investing in Peace" an organization that seeks to encourage individuals, communities, enterprises and government to do more to promote peace. It will include information on their upcoming Investors Conference in July in Switzerland. 
 
 
IEN in the News
 
Women Stakeholders, DAPL and Socially Responsible Investing l EcoWatch
  • The McKinsey Global Institute's report, The Power of Parity: How Advancing Women's Equality Can Add $12 Trillion to Global Growth, concluded that, "Gender inequality is not only a pressing moral and social issue but also a critical economic challenge. If women … do not achieve their full economic potential, the global economy will suffer." According to the report, 95% of company CEOs are still male and of the 22,000 global firms that were reviewed, 60% failed to have any women on their boards. This article highlights IEN's recent Gender Lens Investing Webinar, the risks associated with investments in DAPL, and how ESG Investing is entering the mainstream.
 
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing
 
Investors Torn Over ESG Capabilities l Financial Standards
  • The Australian National University has altered its commitment to socially responsible investing after changing the manner in which its domestic equities investments are managed. While the university committed to divesting from several resource and mining companies in 2014, in October 2015 the ANU Council approved the appointment of an external portfolio manager to manage its domestic equities portfolio, removing itself completely from individual stock selection.
  • A Melbourne university appointed Mercer as its new investment manager and awarded $215 million to two of the investment manager's socially responsible funds. A stronger environmental, social and corporate governance focus will see Swinburne University of Technology invest in Mercer's Socially Responsible Global Shares and Socially Responsible Australian Shares Funds.
  • According to a Knight Foundation report, women and minority-owned money management firms are getting shut out of the asset management industry–not just by philanthropies, but by public funds, high-net-worth individual and family offices, and especially corporate interests. The group hopes the change that practice across the entire investment landscape by calling more attention to it. About $71.4 trillion in assets under management exist within the U.S. market, generating $100 billion in returns annually. To figure out who was managing what, Knight commissioned an analysis of activity for the four main types of funds: hedge, mutual, private equity, and real estate.
Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance
  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how JPMorgan Chase & Co. chief executive officer Jamie Dimon and other business leaders are getting appeals from shareholder advocates who don’t want to lose their access to the corporate ballot; Fidelity Investments, the $2.2 trillion Boston-based asset manager, launched two new sustainability-focused index funds; and Sustainable investors were willing buyers for a green bond issued by Repsol SA, despite concerns about it funding a fossil fuel company's operations.
Shortlist of Best Asset Owner and Manager Reporters Announced Ahead of RI Awards Dinner l Responsible Investor
  • The shortlists for the world’s best asset owner and asset manager reporters in responsible investment has been published ahead of the landmark RI Awards gala dinner in London on the evening of June 6, where the winners will be announced. The RI Awards, in partnership with Refine Research, were established in 2013 to create an aspirational benchmark for asset owners and asset managers by encouraging and recognizing best practice and transparency in responsible investment reporting.
How To Invest Your Money Responsibly, Sustainably, Or For Impact (They’re Not The Same) l Fast Company
  • This article introduces the risk and return profiles for several investment options including public equities, peer-to-peer platforms, and community investing.
Investment Manager News
Fidelity Gets Social-Minded With New Index Funds l Boston Business Journal
  • That other asset management giant in town has gotten a lot of attention lately for its “fearless” female-focused investment policies. Now, Fidelity Investments is making some social-minded moves of its own. Fidelity on Monday rolled out its first-ever index funds focused on sustainability. It had one actively managed fund focused on environmental, social and governance — or ESG — issues, as well as its FundsNetwork program that enables customers to invest in mutual funds from other companies. The new funds come several months after fellow Boston asset manager State Street Corp. (NYSE: STT) garnered international acclaim for its Fearless Girl statue in New York City.
State Street and TruValue Labs Partner to Improve Availability and Transparency of ESG Data for Investors l Business Wire
  • State Street Corporation and TruValue Labs, a provider of artificial intelligence-driven ESG data, today announced an agreement to promote the adoption of industry-standard ESG data produced according to the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) framework. TruValue Labs leverages artificial intelligence to review thousands of information sources each day and provide signals founded on real-time sustainability data analytics to investors, financial institutions and corporations. As part of the agreement, State Street will gain access to one of TruValue Labs’ ESG signals, based on SASB’s industry-leading materiality framework, which identifies sustainability issues at the industry level.
Impax Asset Management’s Assets Surge to New Record (Subscription) l Responsible Investor
  • Impax Asset Management has seen its assets under management reach a new peak of £6bn (€7bn) as at the end of April. It had total net inflows of £870m during the six months to the end of March. Revenue rose to £13.9m against £9.4m in the prior year period while pre-tax profit grew to £2.4m against £2.1m. CEO Ian Simm said: “Our AUM has now reached a new peak of £6bn and we can report record net inflows and significant progress with fundraising for our new private equity renewable infrastructure fund.”
Morgan Stanley Investment Management Raises Over $125M for Global Impact Fund l Finsmes
  • Morgan Stanley Investment Management raised more than $125m for its maiden global impact fund. Launched in partnership with the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, PMF Integro Fund I invests in private equity funds that offer the potential for compelling financial return while demonstrating positive environmental impact, social impact or both. The fund is managed by AIP Private Markets, the private markets solutions team within Morgan Stanley Investment Management.
AIG Introduces New Environmental, Social and Governance Fund l Business Wire
  • American International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG) today announced the recent launch of a fund designed to provide socially and environmentally conscious investors with total return, including capital appreciation and current income, while investing in companies that meet certain ESG standards. The AIG ESG Dividend Fund is a large-cap value fund that provides investors the opportunity to achieve returns based on dividend yield as well as a combination of factors that relate to profitability, valuation and ESG standards.
  • The report provides information on how JPMC is addressing the ESG issues that they and their stakeholders view as among the most important to their business.  It is intended to be a companion to their 2016 Annual Report and 2017 Proxy Statement.
Shareholder Engagement
 
Occidental Shareholders Vote for Climate Proposal -- Update l Fox Business
  • Shareholders of Occidental Petroleum Corp. voted last week to ask that the company assess the long-term impacts of climate change on its business. Occidental opposed the proposal, which calls for an annual report starting in 2018 that includes environment-related scenario planning. One of those evaluations would be assessing the risks the company could face under efforts to limit global warming to a temperature increase of 2 degrees Celsius.
BlackRock Switch Helps Pass 'Historic' Climate Measure at Occidental l Reuters
  • BlackRock Inc said on Friday that it voted in favor of a successful shareholder proposal calling for more climate change reporting by Occidental Petroleum Corp (OXY.N), in the first sign the world's largest asset manager was backing up its tough new talk on environmental matters. Backers of the resolution called its passage a major victory, the first time such a measure succeeded at a major U.S. oil and gas company. Proponents said they were pleased by BlackRock's support, which they had sought.
  • This year’s U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index highlights state and city leaders that are playing an outsized role in the shift towards a cleaner energy mix. Last year, due to a range of economic and policy factors, wind and solar power represented 61 percent of all new electricity generating capacity installed in the U.S. (for the second year in a row).
General Higher Education Endowment & Sustainability News
 
Colleges Should Put Their Money Where Their Ideals Are (Opinion from Barnard College) l The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Climate change is fundamentally tied to our basic economic, social, and political systems. Colleges and universities should be confronting this immense challenge from every angle and recognizing that targeted divestment and campus sustainability go hand in hand. In the face of climate change, "no one office or person can be responsible, and no person or office can be exempt — from students to curriculum, facilities, dining services, and the financial and investment arms of the college," we all share the responsibility to take action. Only with such an all-encompassing commitment can we hope to tackle the daunting challenge of climate change.
Johnson Leaves Becker with Bigger Endowment, Smarter Students l WBJ Journal
  • This article outlines Robert Johnson's time at Becker College and what lies ahead as he transitions to UMass Dartmouth.
Fossil Fuel Divestment
 

Faculty Senate Passes University of Buffalo Fossil Free's Divestment Resolution l The Spectrum

  • The Faculty Senate passed a resolution on Tuesday calling for the UB Foundation (UBF) to divest its funds from fossil fuels. Fossil Free UB began the divestment campaign last year. The resolution passed 28-2 by voters in the Student Association, Graduate Student Association and the SUNY-wide SA. It calls for UBF to divest in fossil fuels and reinvest in “socially responsible” investments. The resolution also asks for quarterly updates on the foundation’s divestment.