Weekly News Round-Up: June 15th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: June 15th, 2018

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

Registration is still open for IEN members to attend next week's Confluence Philanthropy Advisors Forum in NYC, June 19-20, 2018. IEN is pleased to be partnering with Confluence to support this event, and we hope to see you there!

Additionally, SRI Conference Student Scholarship Applications are due June 20th! Please share this opportunity with any students that may be interested.

 

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
New Resources

When National Law Conflicts With International Human Rights Standards: Recommendations for Business l British Institute of International and Comparative Law

  • The general principle that companies should adhere to the national law, whilst seeking to respect IHR standards, is echoed in international standards and guidance, without much clarity on how to achieve both when they are opposed. This paper aims to assist companies by setting out recommendations as to how companies could address such conflicts.
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments & Pensions

Donors Require Socially Responsible Investments at Universities l Non-Profit Quarterly

  • This article highlights how North Carolina State University (NC State) in Raleigh received a pledge for a $50 million donation from Park Foundation, with the condition that the donated funds be invested in a “socially responsible” fashion. It also highlights the SRI related work of Hampshire College and Pitzer College.

Salem State University Fully Divested From Fossil Fuels l Wicked Local

  • Salem State University President John Keenan recently announced the university had completely divested its fossil fuel investments. Divest Salem State, an environmental advocacy group of students, alumni, and faculty, campaigned for full divestment over the past five years.

The World’s Biggest Pension Fund Struggles With Sustainability l Bloomberg

  • This article highlights the key findings of research done by Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, which has nearly $1.5 trillion in AUM. According to GPIF, external asset managers entrusted with passive investment tend to recognize long-term issues such as “E” and “S” as material ESG issues while external asset managers entrusted with active investment tend to recognize “G” issues as material ESG issues.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how Silicon Valley investors are rushing head-on into electric-scooter startups; BlackRock and Wells Fargo are developing ESG target-date funds for retirement plans; Tech shareholder meetings drew protests;  and more boards are looking at tying sustainability to executive pay says John Trentacoste of Farient Advisors.

BlackRock, Natixis, Wells Fargo Are Betting on Ethical Investing Funds for 401(k)s l Bloomberg

  • BlackRock Inc., Natixis and Wells Fargo & Co. are developing their first-ever ESG funds for retirement savings plans, seeking to tap into growing demand for ethical investing. Both firms plan to create a series of target-date funds with this focus, according to people familiar with the matter, with BlackRock aiming to debut some later this year.

The New Allure of Sustainable Investing l Barron's

  • This article highlights how surveys indicate that women’s interest in SRI and ESG investing is nearly as high as millennials. For example, a 2017 report from Cerulli Associates pegged demand for environmental, social, and governance investments at 84% for millennials and 76% for women in general.

Market Analysts Find Green Economy Market Cap Matches Fossil Fuel Sector l Green Biz

  • FTSE Russell last week published a study titled "Investing in the Global Green Economy: Busting Common Myths" which explores the current scale and performance of green economy investments. It concluded that while the green economy previously has been regarded as a "loose concept rather than a defined, investable, industrial system," investors are wrong to assume it is a limited, small cap-dominated market where they have to "give up performance in exchange for environmental benefits."

The Risks and Benefits of ESG Investing: The Advisor and the Quant l Think Advisor

  • In this article, an academic and a practicing financial advisor both answer the question: What are the benefits and risks of ESG investing?

The Need for a Common Language in Green Finance l The Asset ESG Performance

  • In this video, Aldo Romani, the European Investment Bank's deputy head of funding, describes how investors need a common language in green finance.

People are Really Into Impact Investing l Fast Company

  • In just one year, the estimated value of the impact-investing sector has roughly doubled. There are now $228 billion in assets under management, according to a recent survey from the Global Impact Investing Network, which is up an estimated $114 billion since mid-2017. Placing bets that provide both a financial and social or environmental return is booming.

Investing in Sustainable Agriculture l Green Money Journal

  • The June/July issue of Green Money Journal focuses of sustainable agriculture and includes articles from Frey Vineyards, Sustainable Farm Partners, Iroquois Valley Farms, NM Heirloom Corn Project, and the Food and Water team at Ceres as well as SOIL by Woody Tasch of Slow Money.

Can Impact Investing Avoid the Failures of Microfinance? l Harvard Business Review

  • This article aims to answer the questions of how we can make sure that the blossoming impact investment movement — especially as it starts to supplant traditional aid — actually leads to improvements in outcomes for the people and communities it is supposed to benefit.

ESG Investing in the Emerging Markets Is Tough, but Lucrative l Barron's

 
 Opportunities for Action

SRI Conference Student Scholarship Applications Due June 20th!

  • IEN is the fiscal sponsor for an exciting scholarship program that brings students and young professionals to The SRI Conference -  the premier annual gathering of investors and investment professionals working to make money and direct the flow of investment capital toward a sustainable future. This year the conference is taking place November 1-3 in Colorado Springs. Please help us share this opportunity with interested students, the application is linked above!
 
Shareholder Engagement

 The Main Street Investors Coalition is an Industry-Funded Effort to Cut Off Shareholder Oversight l Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation

  • This article raises a red flag that The Main Street Investors Coalition is a corporate-funded group with no real ties to retail investors, and its advocacy is as fake as its name.

Facebook's Policy Chief Sent This Apology Email to a Woman Who Accused Him of Sexism Just Days Before He Quit l Business Insider

  • Natasha Lamb, a managing partner at Arjuna Capital and Chair of the Crane Institute of Sustainability Board, has said that Facebook's policy and communications boss, Elliot Schrage, dismissed her and said she was "not nice" after she raised concerns about Facebook's gender pay gap at a shareholder meeting last month. Schrange apologized via email just days before announcing he is quitting.
 
Investment Manager News 

Cambridge Associates Promotes Christie Zarkovich to Head of Mission-Related Investing Research l Globe News Wire

  • Christie Briscoe Zarkovich, an experienced institutional investor with deep ESG, impact and mission-related investing expertise, has been named Head of Mission-Related Investing (MRI) Research at Cambridge Associates, the global investment firm. She is based in the firm’s Arlington, Virginia office and reports to Noel O’Neill, Global Head of Investment Research.

Rathbones to Launch Global Sustainability Fund l City Manager

  • Rathbones is set to launch a global equity fund that aims to support the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The fund, called the Rathbone Global Sustainability fund, is slated to launch in July and will invest in a concentrated portfolio of 30 to 50 global equities.

Commonfund Appoints Anson as President and CEO l PE Hub Network

  • Commonfund, an asset manager for endowments, foundations and public pension investors, has named Mark Anson as president and CEO. He will be succeeding Catherine Keating who will be leaving the firm to take a senior position at BNY Mellon. Anson will remain as chief investment officer and chairman of the boards of Commonfund Capital Inc and Commonfund Asset. 
 
General Higher Education Endowment & Sustainability News

Colleges Get Tax Reprieve in Push to Value Endowment Assets l Bloomberg

  • Colleges facing the new endowment tax are getting some relief: they won’t be taxed on unrealized income from their billions of dollars in assets before the levy was approved. Schools had been looking for help on this issue, and they got it in the form of Internal Revenue Service guidance issued Friday. 

Ohio State University Trustees Approve New Endowments From Proceeds of Energy Management Partnership l Ohio State University

  • The Ohio State University Board of Trustees today approved the establishment of the Strategic Initiatives Endowment Fund with $700 million from the Comprehensive Energy Management transaction. The university will use annual distributions from the fund to support strategic priorities including student scholarships, faculty, and staff professional development and compensation enhancements. It will also cover the Buckeye Opportunity Program, which provides financial aid to cover the full cost of tuition for Ohio Pell-eligible students.
 
Fossil Fuel Divestment

Cambridge University Makes Landmark Decision Against Full Divestment l The Varsity

  • In a rejection of widespread calls for the University to commit to full divestment from the fossil fuel sector, Cambridge instead plans to adopt the controversial recommendations made by its divestment working group, committing to ‘considered’ divestment. The Council also intends to reject the report’s recommendation to invest 10% of its indirect investments in ESG funds, opting instead to employ an ESG officer in the University Investment Office. 

Churches Urged to Divest From Fossil Fuels l ICN

  • This article highlights a new report titled Fossil free Churches: Accelerating the Transition to a Brighter, Cleaner Future, wchich argues that the speed of transition needs to accelerate rapidly in order to keep temperature rises in line with the Paris Agreement. To accelerate the transition to a net zero carbon economy, Churches (and other investors) need to rapidly shift their investments from fossil fuel companies and reinvest in clean alternatives.

AMA Urged to Rethink Fossil Fuel Investments l MedPage Today

  • The American Medical Association (AMA) should divest from the fossil fuels industry, some physicians said at the AMA's annual House of Delegates meeting. 
 
 
Calendar of Upcoming Events

The Energy Fair l MREA, June 15-17, 2018, Custer, WI

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.

Addressing Systematic Risk: Investment Institutions Trend Index & The SDGs l June 18, 2018, Washington D.C.

PRI Climate Forums:

  • San FranciscoJune 25th, 2018, hosted by K&L Gates
  • New YorkJune 27th, 2018, hosted by Credit Suisse
  • BostonJune 28th, 2018, hosted by Fidelity Investments

Intentionally Designed Endowment Roundtable at the Appalachian Energy Summit l July 30th - August 1st, 2018, Boone, NC (by invitation)

  • The Appalachian Energy Summit, which runs from July 30 - August 1, will feature a plenary panel on endowment investing with representatives from the Crane Institute and the Intentional Endowments Network, as well as a half-day roundtable for CFOs and trustees from the UNC system and other schools in the region (by invitation) 

Global Climate Action Summit l Global Climate Action SummitSeptember 12-14, 2018, San Francisco, CA

PRI In Person l Principles for Responsible Investment, September 12-14, 2018, San Francisco, CA

2018 Investing for Impact Symposium | High Water Women, October 17, 2018, New York, NY

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

2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit | February 10-12, 2019, Tempe, AZ