Weekly News Round-Up: June 22nd, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: June 22nd, 2018

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

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
New Resources

2018 Information & Communications Technology Benchmark l Know The Chain

  • The 40 ICT companies were assessed across the benchmark's seven themes, which were developed to capture the key areas where companies need to take action to eradicate forced labor from their supply chains: commitment; traceability and risk assessment; purchasing practices; recruitment; worker voice; monitoring; and remedy. There are a total of 23 indicators across the seven themes. For each theme, a company can score a total of 100 points.

Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate l Union of Concerned Scientists

  • This analysis looks at what's at risk for US coastal real estate from sea level rise—and the challenges and choices we face now and in the decades to come. 

New Energy Outlook 2018 l Bloomberg New Energy Finance

  • Focused on the electricity system, BNEF's New Energy Outlook (NEO) is an annual long-term economic analysis of the world’s power sector out to 2050. NEO combines the expertise of over 65 market and technology specialists in 12 countries to provide a unique view of how the market will evolve. 
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments & Foundations 

UK Pension Funds Get Green Light to Dump Fossil Fuel Investments l The Guardian

  • Managers of the £1.5tn invested in Britain’s workplace pension schemes are to be given new powers to dump shares in oil, gas and coal companies in favor of long-term investment in green and “social impact” opportunities. Government proposals published on Monday are designed to give pension fund trustees more confidence to divest from environmentally damaging fossil fuels and put their cash in green alternatives if it meets their members’ wishes. 
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how batteries will attract $548 billion in investment by 2050, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said; Climate change is already hitting housing prices; Procter & Gamble pledged to hire more female directors for its commercials; Institutional investors are working to implement socially responsible strategies across their portfolios says Morgan Stanley's Rui DeFiguerdo.

84% of Investors Apply or Are Considering, ESG – Morgan Stanley l Pensions & Investments

  • Eighty-four percent of asset owners globally are pursuing or considering ESG investing, said a survey released Monday by the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing and Morgan Stanley Investment Management. Among the 70% of owners who already are incorporating environmental, social and governance factors into their investment decisions, 60% began doing so in the past four years and 37% within the past two years.

68% of Institutional Investors Say Responsible Investing is Important – Aon Survey l Pensions & Investments

  • Sixty-eight percent of institutional investors globally consider responsible investing important to their organization to some degree, said an Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting survey released Tuesday. A belief that incorporating ESG factors resulted in better investment decisions was cited as the most popular reason for ESG integration (39% of investors), followed by a desire to impact global issues (26%).

Ixo Foundation Brings Blockchain and Impact Investing Close Together l Hedge Week

  • This article highlights a new foundation focused on using a blockchain protocol to track and measure impact investing has been created by Dr. Shaun Conway, a medical doctor and former adviser to the World Health Organisation.

Investing Sustainably Without Compromising Performance l Barron's

  • In this Q&A article, Matt Patsky, CEO of Trillium Asset Management, discusses sustainable and impact investing—or investing with measurable social and environmental outcomes in addition to competitive financial returns—as well as recent Department of Labor guidance that said “fiduciaries of ERISA-covered plans must avoid too readily treating ESG issues as being economically relevant to any particular investment choice.” 

Allianz GI Vice-Chair Calls for a Common Language Around Impact Investing l Insurance Asset Risk

  • In this article, Elizabeth Corley, Allianz Global Investors (GI) vice-chair and former CEO, discusses how to combat the inertia, confusion, and skepticism around impact investing, stakeholders looking for financial returns and those interested in non-financial returns have to find a common language.
 
 Green Bonds

Bondholders Use Refinancing as Leverage to Push Companies on ESG l Financial Times

  • A report published in April by the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment said that “bondholders typically feel their influence over a company’s obligations is limited” because they do not have voting rights and the same levels of access to a company as shareholders. This article highlights how high-profile policy initiatives are spurring change.
 
 Fiduciary Duty

Not Considering ESG Could Mean Failing Fiduciary Duty: Compenswiss l Investments & Pensions Europe

  • This article highlights how investors that do not consider ESG risks in their portfolios risk breaching their fiduciary duty to members, according to the investment chief of one of Switzerland’s biggest asset owners.
 
Sustainable Development Goals

High-level Event Spotlights Tools to Break Bottlenecks for SDG Investment l SDG Knowledge Hub

  • The UN General Assembly held a high-level event on SDG financing, and ways to increase private investment in order to meet the annual financing needs of the 2030 Agenda. The UNGA President stressed the need for governments to “sell the SDGs, not just put our hands out and expect the investments to come”. The outcome of the event will be Chair’s summary that will draw on the outcomes of the deliberations, aimed to provide a “succinct and action-oriented” inventory of the solutions presented, as well as suggestions for future actions.

Investing in Sustainable Fisheries l Conservation Finance Network

  • A total of 31.4 percent of global fisheries are being fished at biologically unsustainable levels, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. However, a 2016 study by Costello and others said the application of sound management reforms to global fisheries will increase biomass by 619 million metric tons relative to a business-as-usual scenario.
 
Climate Risk, Science & Regulation

How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country l The New York Times

  • This article explores how in cities and counties across the country, the Koch brothers are fueling a fight against public transit, an offshoot of their longstanding national crusade for lower taxes and smaller government.

600 Catholic Groups Sign Climate Declaration l 

  • American Catholic leaders held a telephone press conference on June 18 to reaffirm the importance of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’. They highlighted that nearly 600 Catholic institutions have signed the Catholic Climate Declaration, and urged more Catholics in the U.S. to get involved in the dialog and “actions needed to protect our common home.”

From the Coasts to the Mountains: Climate Accountability is Coming for the Oil Industry l CIEL

  • In a new case filed in Colorado District Court, Boulder County, San Miguel County, and the City of Boulder filed suit against ExxonMobil and Suncor Energy demanding that the companies pay their share of the costs of climate change caused by their products and their actions. This case brings the number of climate lawsuits on behalf of US municipalities into double digits—and comes just two weeks after campaigners in the Netherlands put Shell on legal notice of the possible legal action in that country as well.

New Group, With Conservative Credentials, Plans Push for a Carbon Tax l The New York Times

  • Proponents of a market-oriented plan to fight climate change by taxing greenhouse gas emissions and giving the revenue to American taxpayers are starting a campaign to run advertisements as early as this fall and introduce legislation in Congress as early as next year. The plan’s supporters have formed a group called Americans for Carbon Dividends that will lobby for the proposal. The group plans its first event on Wednesday and includes a number of well-known members, including Trent Lott, the former Senate Republican leader from Mississippi, and Janet L. Yellen, who led the Federal Reserve under President Barack Obama.

Investing in Sustainable Fisheries l Conservation Finance Network

  • A total of 31.4 percent of global fisheries are being fished at biologically unsustainable levels, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. However, a 2016 study by Costello and others said the application of sound management reforms to global fisheries will increase biomass by 619 million metric tons relative to a business-as-usual scenario.
 
Investment Firm News 

A Champion of Responsible Investing Takes on The Gun Industry l Las Vegas Sun

  • This article discusses John Streur's, chief executive of investment firm Calvert Research & Management, engagement with Kroger on gun sales, as well as his leadership in the ESG field overall.

Community Capital Management Alternative Income Fund Marks 5-Year Anniversary l Cision

  • Community Capital Management, Inc. (CCM), a leading impact/ESG investing manager, is pleased to announce that its CCM Alternative Income Fund (CCMNX) celebrated its five-year anniversary on May 31, 2018.  The Fund is designed for investors seeking a higher-yielding, market-neutral impact vehicle.  CCMNX celebrates this anniversary with a 4-Star Overall Morningstar Rating out of 288 multi alternative funds and with a 30-Day SEC Yield of 5.65% (as of 5/31/18).

Fidelity Charitable Expands Impact Investing Options l Barron's

  • Fidelity Charitable, a nonprofit related to, but independent of, Fidelity Investments, is introducing more impact investing options for its donors. Clients have had the option since 2014 to direct their fund assets into a “sustainable U.S. index asset pool,” which is managed by the TIAA-CREF Social Choice Equity Fund, and now donors have access to three more mutual fund approaches, including an “environmental impact access” fund managed by Pax World; a fossil-free strategy focused on companies in a range of businesses from alternative energy to pollution control; and sustainable food and agriculture.

Goldman Sachs to Invest $500 Million in Women-Run Companies l Reuters

  • Goldman Sachs Group Inc will pump $500 million into companies led, founded or owned by women, as it steps up efforts to close the gender investing gap, the Wall Street bank said on Tuesday.
 
General Higher Education Endowment News

Grinnell College Nabs CIO From Oberlin l Institutional Investor

  • Grinnell College has poached the Oberlin College endowment’s chief investment officer to serve as its own CIO. Grinnell announced this month that it had hired Jainen Thayer, Oberlin’s current CIO, to join the endowment in mid-September. The hiring follows a months-long national search, according to the announcement.

Head of UConn Foundation, Credited With Boosting Endowment, To Leave In August l Hartford Corant

  • Joshua R. Newton, president, and CEO of the UConn Foundation, will leave the fundraising arm of the state’s flagship university in August to return to Emory University, where he had worked before coming to Storrs in 2013. Newtown is credited with growing UConn’s endowment from $339 million in 2013 to $439 million this year and raising nearly $400 million in his five years of leading the foundation.
 
Fossil Fuel Divestment

Swarthmore Endowment Will Not Divest from Fossil Fuels l Chief Investment Officer

  • Swarthmore College’s $2 billion endowment said it will not divest from fossil fuels, despite a fasting protest by students and faculty, and a student referendum calling for divestment that passed with overwhelming approval.

105 Degrees, 210 Miles, 1 Goal: Walking For a Fossil-Free Church l The Presbyterian Outlook

  • In preparation for the 223rd General Assembly, Fossil Free PCUSA, a project of Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, organized a walk from the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Louisville to the doors of the America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis, where General Assembly is being held.

Cambridge has Turned its Back on Democracy and Morality Over Divestment l The Varsity

  • Last Friday, the University of Cambridge announced its decision to maintain investments in funds that hold shares in fossil fuel companies. The decision broadly follows the recommendations of the divestment working group, but rejects its call to commit 10% of the University’s endowment to ESG funds.

Despite Trump, Wall Street is Breaking up With Fossil Fuels l Grist

  • In this opinion piece written by Bill McKibben, he argues that if a few years of campaigning is enough to convince the Pope we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground, a few more quarters might finally persuade Wall Street executives that there’s more money to be made elsewhere.

Treasurer Magaziner’s Climate Hypocrisy: Time to Divest the Pension Fund (Opinion) l Uprise RI

  • General RI Treasurer Seth Magaziner loves to preach his environmental leadership. “I would not be doing my job if I wasn’t thinking about climate — climate change is expensive,” Magaziner the state’s environmental leaders in October. Despite these proclamations, Magaziner still invests Rhode Island’s funds in four of the biggest United States oil and gas corporations — ExxonMobilConocoPhillips, Chevron and Devon Energy. 
 
 
Calendar of Upcoming Events

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

 

 

 


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