Weekly News Round-Up: June 28, 2019

This week a number of IEN members came together in San Francisco for Confluence Philanthropy’s 2nd Annual Advisors Forum and Climate Leadership Summit. Reach out to Kaede or Hannah on the IEN team to learn more about what trends and insights we discussed!

On yesterday’s IEN webinar, we heard about the responsible investing journey of the University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation, discussed what ESG integration looks like in their portfolio, and heard how the principles and resources of PRI have played a role in advancing this work; a recording is available here. What follow-up questions does this discussion spark for you? Send them our way!

Renewing IEN Members

The network appreciates the continued engagement of:

 

Opportunities for Action

Universities and Colleges for the Climate Summit | SDG Accord

  • Deadline: August 1, 2019. In advance of the Secretary General’s Climate Summit on September 23, networks and institutions working in Higher Education are coming together to add their support to this letter that would be shared with key government officials and the media in advance of this event.

Moskowitz Research Prize | Berkeley Haas School of Business and US SIF

  • Deadline: June 30, 2019. The Moskowitz Prize recognizes outstanding research on responsible investment and the financial implications of responsible business practices in capital markets. The prize-winning study is selected by a panel of judges from academia and the investment industry Judging criteria include: Significance to practitioners of sustainable and/or responsible investment; Innovativeness of research question and approach; and Appropriateness and rigor of methods.

SRI Conference Student Scholarship l FAFN Emeriti

  • Deadline: July 8. IEN is partnering with the First Affirmative Financial Network emeriti and longtime affiliates who are offering scholarships to bring young people to The SRI Conference. 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.

Sign-on Opportunities

 

 

Sustainable Investing By Institutional Asset Owners

UNC Asheville Becomes First in UNC System to Divest from Fossil Fuels | Asheville Citizen Times

  • Coverage of last week’s announcement from IEN member University of North Carolina Asheville continues, with this piece focused primarily on the role of student activism in elevating the issue of fossil fuel divestment. The piece notes that UNCA joins two private schools in Western North Carolina - Brevard College and IEN member Warren Wilson College – which divested endowed funds in 2015.

CalSTRS Teams Up with Pope Francis on Climate Action | Chief Investment Officer

  • The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) announced it is joining an initiative led in part by Pope Francis to combat the effects of climate change. Alongside the investment strength of CalSTRS, a number of high-profile oil and gas companies have also joined the accord, including Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Repsol, Invesco, and others. In May, CalSTRS  formalized carbon-pricing-friendly language in its investment policy language.

State and Local Governments Eye ESG Investing Strategies for Returns and Impact | PlanSponsor

  • US SIF’s Lisa Woll provides examples of strategies public pension funds are using to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing with retirement funds and other assets. Includes examples from Chicago, Oregon, and Boston.
 

Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Refugee Lens Investing Arrives | Euromoney

  • In the past two to three years, more initiatives have emerged to connect finance with refugees. There are more than 70 million people worldwide who have been forcibly displaced, and climate change is expected to lead to another 300 million in the next decade. The Refugee Investment Network launched an impact investing and blended finance collaborative connecting investors with refugee ventures. Kiva, the world’s largest crowdfunded micro-lending platform is looking to close their Kiva Refugee Investment Fund later this year.

Nasdaq Launches Center for Corporate Governance, First Report Highlights Focus on Stakeholders Beyond Shareholders | Yahoo Finance

  • Nasdaq Inc. has launched the Nasdaq Center for Corporate Governance, an information and research platform dedicated to supporting boards, senior executives, and governance professionals at public, private, and nonprofit organizations. The Center’s first report assesses governance practices from the S&P 100 companies based on public disclosures and found a shift from a “know your shareholders” tack to a more current “know your stakeholders” approach, giving more attention to issues such as diversity, sustainability, and the environment.

How Investors Can Effectively Select an Investment Manager to Measure ESG | Sustainable Brands

  • The process for evaluating an ESG manager is similar to the process an ESG fund manager uses when evaluating a company — this article provides a few preliminary steps asset owners should take when beginning the search for an investment manager that integrates ESG.

A Sophisticated Investor's Approach To Climate Change: The Case Of LGIM | Forbes

  • This piece summarizes an approach to climate change combining elements of both engagement and divestment, from U.K. based Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), the world’s 11th largest asset manager with around $1.3 trillion in AUM. Recent findings from “LGIM’s Climate Impact Pledge: The results so far,” show that scores of U.S. companies have improved since LGIM started engagement in 2017.

How to Parse All the Metrics of Sustainability | Barron’s

  • Sustainable investing requires familiarity with a dizzying list of acronyms so arcane you might think they originated with bureaucrats. Truth be told, many of them did. ESG. UNGC. SDG. PRI. TCFD. That’s not including SASB and GRI. This article lifts the veil on the alphabet soup of sustainability metrics.

Inside View: Six Issues Impact Investors Need to Consider | Funds Europe

  • In this commentary, Yo Takatsuki of Axa Investment Managers considers how impact investing – with its roots in private equity – can be achieved through public markets investment.

The 100-Year Portfolio: How Sustainable Investing Has Grown Up | Barron’s

  • This article briefly explains the evolution from negative screening to more sophisticated ESG strategies, citing integration of ESG screening by BlackRock and GMO as examples of current practice.

Fund Research & Insights: Should ESG Funds Buy "Bad" Companies? | Morningstar

  • This piece looks at the question of whether the point of ESG based investing is to sort the “responsible” from the “irresponsible” companies and exclude irresponsible ones, or to “identify companies that are more effectively addressing the significant ESG issues they face today,” using ESG to “enhance the financial value” of the stocks you own vs. to mirror your values.

Why a Recession Would Be Good for ESG Investors | Barron’s

  • The long-expected inverted yield curve—long-term bond yields now lower than short-term yields—is finally here, bringing with it a rekindled fear that a recession looms. Though it may seem counterintuitive, a recession will be a boon for socially responsible investing.
 

Shareholder Engagement

3 Ways Investors Can Pressure Companies to Take Sustainability Seriously | Barron’s

  • In this article, Ceres CEO Mindy Lubber and Harvard Business School professor George Serafeim discuss how to identify and push for improved performance on industry-specific material ESG issues.
 

Community Impact Investing

Climate Adaptation Investment and the Community Reinvestment Act | Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

  • This report introduces the field of climate adaptation finance and explains its connection to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) within the context of the disaster provisions guiding pre- and post-disaster investments. It highlights existing innovative and hypothetical investments within a broader context for stimulating greater pre-disaster planning and investment, sparking new ideas about how to develop partnerships and funding streams for CRA-eligible activities—in both eligible communities and areas within a federal disaster declaration—that will reduce the vulnerability and increase the adaptive capacity of communities to the impacts of climate change.

Reverse Baltimore's Population Slide: Find Investors for 'an Incredibly High-potential City' | Baltimore Sun

  • This opinion piece discusses how the city of Baltimore could benefit from Opportunity Zone investment, if investors prioritize community benefits.

Government and Investors Seek to Lift Opportunity Zones, but Communities Will Define Success | U.S. Impact Investing Alliance

  • This letter on behalf of the Presidents' Council on Impact Investing, a group of 20 leading U.S. foundations with a shared commitment to impact investing and more than $80 billion in combined assets, calls for greater community voice in opportunity zone investment decision making, with three specific recommendations.
 

Green Bonds

Atlanta Environmental Impact Bond Breaks Into Public Market | Conservation Finance Network

  • In January 2019, Atlanta closed a $14 million environmental impact bond (EIB) for stormwater management in the city’s Proctor Creek watershed. Atlanta’s bond was offered publicly, a first for municipal EIBs and an innovation its architects hope will help pave the way for EIBs to become a mainstream investment and financing tool. The results from the Atlanta offering could be seen as validation of market appetite for EIBs: the Atlanta bond was fully subscribed, mostly by mainstream institutional investors.
 

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Why Focusing on Diversity Numbers Won't Really Make Companies More Inclusive | Yahoo Finance

  • Moving the needle on diversity and inclusion requires deliberate planning, and expert execution—and like other business challenges, diversity and inclusion planning requires accountability. The CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, a 700-organization strong coalition committed to changing the diversity landscape in our workplaces and communities, is introducing, as the new CEO pledge commitment, a promise by signatories to present or review diversity and inclusion plans with their boards of directors starting this year.
 

Gender Lens Investing

How Are Gender Lens Funds Performing? | Seeking Alpha

  • This article gives an overview of the current gender lens equity fund landscape, including recent performance. Less than 10% of all portfolio managers are women, according to the latest Morningstar data on mutual funds and ETFs, and that figure has not budged in many years. Management teams in the gender lens sector are well ahead of the mean on this front, with over 60% female portfolio managers.

EWIB Partners with BIO to Promote Gender Diversity on Corporate Boards | Business Wire

  • Executive Women in Bio (EWIB), a committee comprised of senior leaders in the life sciences and biopharma, joined Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) to launch a partnership to counteract women’s underrepresentation on executive boards. Senior women executives who complete EWIB’s Boardroom Ready program can elect to be listed on BIO Boardlist, a searchable directory of eligible executives in which members can recommend peers and companies can find board candidates that best fit their business needs.
 

Student Managed Funds & Sustainable Business Curriculum

Legendary Investor David Swensen To Teach Asset Management In A New Yale Master's Program | Forbes

  • Yale School of Management is launching a new master's program in asset management and has gotten the endowment's legendary Chief Investment Officier David Swensen to enter the classroom and teach in the new program.
 

Investment Firm News

Looking for Value in the ESG Ecosystem with Nuveen | Corporate Secretary

  • Challenges on data, investment decisions and engagement have persisted but evolved at Nuveen – as has the firm’s approach to integrating ESG into value creation, as Amy O’Brien, head of responsible investing, and Peter Reali, senior director for responsible investing, explain.

Glenmede Becomes Signatory of Principles for Responsible Investment | Business Wire

  • IEN member the Glenmede Trust Company, a privately-held and independently owned investment and wealth management firm with $40 billion in assets under management, announced it has become a signatory to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). PRI is a network of global investors committed to integrating ESG factors into their investment practices to develop a more sustainable financial system.

Impacts Impress Investors but They Just Can’t Get the Staff | Campden FB

  • Drawing on the recently released GIIN investor survey, this article notes that investors say their impact investments meet—or beat—their expectations as the global $502 billion sector grows and matures, but they struggle to find the right people to manage their projects.

How Pimco Is Trying to Change The World | Barron’s

  • Pimco has nearly silently moved into sustainable investing—not with a new product line, but by implementing this kind of research throughout the firm—becoming one of the first, and certainly the largest, of the large asset managers to regard investing with an eye toward long-term sustainability as a critical key to success.

Wellington Management Launches Impact Bond Fund for AA-rated PM | Citywire Selector

  • Wellington Management has expanded its range of sustainable strategies, becoming the latest asset manager to launch a global impact bond fund. This latest launch comes shortly after the addition of two new sustainable investing-focused equity funds, the Wellington Climate Strategy fund and the Wellington Global Stewards fund.
 

Economic & Policy Shifts

New York’s Landmark Climate Bill Aims for Net Zero Emissions by 2050 | Electrek

  • New York lawmakers have agreed to pass the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CCPA), an ambitious bill that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85% by 2050, with the rest of the state’s emissions offset by other projects for “net zero emissions in all sectors of the economy.” Along the way to reaching its eventual goals, the state will be required to get 70% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, with a move to carbon-free power by 2040. In this last regard, it will join other states with carbon-free goals, including California, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, and Nevada.

How To Read The European Union's New Guidelines On Sustainable Investing | Forbes

  • This article provides background, context, and a brief analysis of the recently released EU Taxonomy, a classification tool to help investors and companies analyze the sustainability of potential investments and engage in two-way dialogue with investees, known as strategic engagement, on sustainability.

Why You Should Care About Carbon Pricing | Barron’s

  • With new momentum growing, this piece provides an overview of who is pushing for carbon pricing, the difference between cap-and-trade proposals and carbon tax proposals, and what a carbon price could mean for investors.

Blog: Commissioner Peirce Condemns ESG-shaming as the New “Scarlet Letters” | JD Supra

  • In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce continued her rebuke of the practice of “public shaming” of companies that do not adequately satisfy ESG standards. Her views reflect the perspective that ESG should not be wielded as a tool to impose one’s “values” on companies where the impact may be detrimental to shareholders; rather it should be a driving force only to the extent that it is expected to have a positive effect on shareholder value.
 

 

Climate Risk, Science, and Clean Energy

Don’t Be Fooled by Fossil Fuel Companies’ Green Exterior | Rolling Stone

  • After decades of spreading disinformation, fossil fuel interests the world over are shifting into a different strategy: appearing to embrace a progressive climate stance — as they continue to try to shape legislation to their benefit. The London-based think tank InfluenceMap found the world’s five largest oil companies have spent $1 billion rebranding themselves as “green” since the Paris Agreement, all the while pushing aggressively to access new supplies of oil and undermine climate rules and regulations.

Britain Generating More Electricity from Zero Carbon than Fossil Fuels for First Time since Industrial Revolution | Telegraph

  • In what was described as an historic milestone, and a watershed moment, the amount of electricity coming from wind, solar, nuclear and hydro power overtook coal and gas by more than one percentage point at the end of May.

Feeling the Heat: Scientists and Policymakers Launch New Climate Network | Las Cruces Sun News

  • A group of American scientists and policymakers, the Science for Climate Action Network, is trying to bridge the disconnect between science and policy — and help states, cities, tribes and small communities plan for future conditions and also cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

How High Will the Sea Rise Along the N.J. Shore? 3 Feet? 7 Feet? Higher? | NJ .com

  • This essay on the potential impacts of sea level rise on the coast of New Jersey is part of a Rutgers University project in which their experts weigh-in on how action driven by science, policy, engineering and planning could future-proof the Garden State.

NYPD Arrests 66 People at a Climate Protest Outside The New York Times Offices | CNN

  • Sixty-six people were arrested outside of The New York Times building in Manhattan during a protest to call attention to the way news outlets cover the climate crisis. The protesters were affiliated with a group called Extinction Rebellion, which describes itself on its website as an "international movement" aimed at combating climate change through nonviolent protest and minimizing the "risk of human extinction and ecological collapse."

How Companies Put Climate Change Financial Risks on the Books | Acuity

  • This article provides a comprehensive overview of how the reporting framework by the G20 Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) is being used, and how local standard-setters and companies are providing guidance.

Energy Investors Facing Coal Dilemma | The Asset ESG Forum

  • As Asia is still heavily reliant on coal and renewable energy is still insufficient, investors might find it hard to avoid coal when investing in energy and following ESG standards.

Recent Science Raises Oil Industry’s Climate Litigation Risk | Forbes

  • Potential climate litigants are now anxious to understand the extent to which a rapidly developing scientific discipline, climate attribution science and source attribution, can provide evidence in cases that seek reparations for climate damage.
 
 

General Higher Education Endowment News

Columbia Endowment CEO's Pay Falls to $3.8 million in First Year | Pensions & Investments

  • Columbia University paid the head of its endowment $3.8 million in 2017, a decline from the year earlier despite having promoted him to run the investment office. Peter Holland's compensation fell 7.3% from 2016, driven in part by a cut in his performance bonus, according to the university's tax filing. Columbia has an $11 billion endowment.
 

 

General Higher Education Sustainability News

Sustainable Missoula: Sustainability Is a Culture that Includes and Responds, UM Institute Teaches | Missoula Current

  • The latest articulation of the University of Montana’s goals includes the mantra to “partner with place.” Partnership means learning from and investing in not just the pieces that are directly related to one program or another, but in the vast nexus that defines a community. Reducing transportation emissions means addressing social and economic injustice. Reusing building materials means examining the relationships between people, community, and materials. Building homes, serving tea, growing food – it all means partnering with this place. Partnership builds resilience and diversity, and that means sustainability.
 

 

Fossil Fuel Divestment

For My Future College, Fossil Fuel Divestment Is a Must-Have So the Climate Crisis Doesn't Make My Education Useless | Teen Vogue

  • In this op-ed, Zero Hour climate activist Jamie Margolin explains why she wants to see higher education divest from the fossil fuel industry, framing it as part of an existential question her entire generation faces in the climate crisis.

Climate Change: Oxford Uni Students Call for End to Fossil Fuel Investment | Oxford Mail

  • This article reports on a recent protest by the Oxford Climate Justice Campaign. The University’s endowment is managed by the Oxford University Endowment Management in a fund that stood at £3.4 billion as of December 2018, with about £74.8 million invested in the energy sector. The campaigners said they wanted to ensure a Sustainability Showcase did not allow the University to 'gloss over' the issue of its fossil fuel investments.
 

Calendar of Upcoming Events

IEN Events:

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

2020 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit | Intentional Endowments Network and Second Nature, February 23-25, 2020, Atlanta, GA

Other Events:

Sustainable Investing Solutions | Appleseed Capital, Brown Advisory, Calvert Research, Community Capital Mgmt, Saturna Capital, First Affirmative/Folio Institutional, Parnassus Investments, Impax Asset Mgmt, Trillium Asset Mgmt, Green Century , Allianz, Calvert Impact, and US SIF, July 9, 2019, Boston, MA This is a Financial Advisor Only Event.

Getting Gender Smart: Impact Investing with a Gender Lens | Duke Fuqua School of Business, September 9-11, 2019, Durham, North Carolina

Financing the Future: The Global Climate Divest-Invest Summit | Divest Invest, Fossil Free SA, Global Catholic Climate Movement, GreenFaith, PACJA, Shine, Wallace Global Fund, and 350, September 10-11, 2019, Cape Town, South Africa

Impact Investing: Driving Social Purpose Through Measurable Investment Returns | Skytop Strategies, September 17, 2019, Boston, MA, Interested members should contact nicole@intentionalendowments.org to access a 15% off registration IEN Member discount code.

Sustainable Investment Forum North America 2019 | UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative, September 25, 2019, New York, NY (Climate Week)

GIIN Investor Forum | GIIN, October 2-3, 2019, Amsterdam, Netherlands

2019 AASHE Conference & Expo: Co-Creating a Sustainable Economy | AASHE, October 27-30, 2019, Spokane, WA

21st Annual Endowment and Foundation Forum | Opal, November 7-8, 2019, Boston, MA

2nd Impact Summit America | Phenix Capital, November 14, 2019, New York, NY

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