Weekly News Round-Up: June 2nd, 2017

New IEN Members
 
Opportunities for Action
 

Grand Coalition Statement on Paris Agreement l Second Nature

  • The Administration announced that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. It is clear that higher education, in alignment with a grand coalition of other vital sectors of the US economy, must continue to lead the nation’s climate actions. Join mayors, governors, and business leaders in demonstrating our national commitment to the principles and targets of the Paris Agreement. This joint statement is the first time that these sectors have joined together publicly in a strong show of support for climate action that is so vital to the future of our country.
  • IEN is pleased to support The SRI Conference Student Scholarship. The scholarship is run by a group of First Affirmative Financial Network alumni and longtime affiliates to bring qualified young people to The SRI Conference. Their goal is to insure that the culture, commitment, and competence of the pioneer SRI movement be sustained into the next generation. Applications are accepted through September 11thclick here to apply. Winners are announced in late September.  For questions or additional information on this program, please contact SRIscholarship15@gmail.com
 
 
Upcoming Events

Breakfast Briefing: Environmental, Social & Governance Investing l Fund Intelligence, June 15, 2017, New York, NY
  • The US Breakfast Briefing, a free to attend event, featuring a panel-led discussion and informal networking. Join for an in-depth discussion with representatives from foundations, endowments, and asset management firms on socially responsible investing.
  • There are now 1,700 PRI signatories, from over 50 countries, with assets approaching US$62 trillion, committed to incorporating ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making. This webinar will explore how SASB standards can help PRI signatories fulfill their commitments and adhere to the values that undergird the PRI principles.
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.
ICYMI -- Sustainable Agriculture Investing Webinar Recording l Intentional Endowments Network
  • If you missed our May 31st webinar, a recording is now available on our website. In this webinar, Sada Geuss will present on Trillium’s recently released White Paper on Sustainable Agriculture. Other panelists -- Maria Lettini of FAIRR, Don Wiviott of Sustainable Farm Partners, and David Miller of Iroquois Valley Farms -- will explore various aspects of risks and opportunities associated with agriculture investments.  
 
 
Higher Education Endowments ESG/SRI News
 
U.S. Colleges Have $500 Billion to Invest. Now Where Are All the Green Deals? l Bloomberg
  • U.S. college endowments altogether hold more than $500 ­billion in assets, a growing part of which they’ve allocated to sustainable or “impact” investing. Yet they also face something of a paradox: Where, exactly, does one invest that money? This article explores how the University of California invests its $100 billion portfolio, and highlights the advisory group they helped create called Aligned Intermediary Inc.
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing
 
Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance
  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how more than 60 percent of shareholders approved a resolution asking the largest U.S. oil company to disclose more about how climate change affects its business; Investors say they think renewable energy economics will hold even if the U.S. withdraws from the Paris Agreement; Brazil green bond sales seen reaching $5 billion this year; and asks how much did exclusions cost Norway's sovereign wealth fund?
  • Nearly 80% of asset managers and asset owners incorporate ESG factors into their decision-making, according to a survey from BNP Paribas Securities Services. The report, titled “Great Expectations: ESG – What’s next for asset owners and managers,” found that among the asset owners incorporating ESG, 46% plan to invest at least half of their assets into funds that incorporate ESG by 2019.
ESG Analytics Challenge Feeds Cost Worries: Survey l Investments & Pensions Europe
  • Asset managers are concerned about the cost of incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, according to a BNP Paribas Securities Services survey. Asked about their views on barriers to deeper integration of ESG across their investment portfolios, 31% of asset managers cited costs as their biggest challenge over the next two years. It was also the single most important future barrier cited by all respondents, according to BNP Paribas. The survey was of 461 respondents, with 233 asset managers and 228 asset owners participating. The largest share of respondents was based in the US.
Doing Good and Doing Well: Faith-Based Investing Converts the Skeptics l USA Today
  • This article describes the sea change in relations between the corporate world and faith-based groups that in the 1970s spearheaded the movement for socially responsible investing.
  • This article discusses what it means to align investor values with investment decisions, sepcifically focusing on the idea of authentic investors – investors who bring a conscious awareness of their personal purpose and values to full expression in their work.
Why Impact Investing Has Reached a Tipping Point l Knowledge at Wharton
  • More major mainstream investment managers are flocking to impact investments. Already, funds invested in it are well into the tens of trillions and some foundations are committing to invest their endowments in it. Perhaps even more telling than these indicators suggesting that impact investing is heading toward the mainstream: More students are enrolled in the impact investing class of Christopher Geczy, an adjunct professor of finance at Wharton, than in his traditional investment management class. “I think we’ve reached a tipping point,” said Geczy during a panel discussion at this year’s Social Impact Conference, sponsored by Wharton’s Social Impact Initiative.
Responsible Investing: Soon to be a Mainstream Aspect of Investment l Financial Express
  • Today, Responsible Investment is undergoing a fascinating development with more asset owners wanting to make a positive societal and environmental impact with their investments, alongside financial returns. Undeniably, ESG is already part of the investing fabric and is becoming a mainstream aspect of investing today. The industry needs to see investment results and more pressure from asset owners and government, to develop.
  • One of the world’s largest mutual fund providers has entered the field of sustainable investing. Fidelity has launched two sustainability index funds, named the Fidelity U.S. Sustainability Index (FENSX), which tracks the MSCI USA ESG Index, and Fidelity International Sustainability Index (FNIYX), which follows the MSCI All Country World ex-USA ESG Index.
Shareholder Engagement
 
  • ExxonMobil management was defeated Wednesday by a shareholder rebellion over climate change, as investors with 62.3 percent of shares voted to instruct the oil giant to report on the impact of global measures designed to keep climate change to 2 degrees centigrade. The shareholder rebellion at the ExxonMobil annual meeting in Dallas was led by major financial advisory firms and fund managers who traditionally have played passive roles. Although the identity of voters wasn’t disclosed, a source familiar with the vote said that major financial advisory firm BlackRock had cast its shares in opposition to Exxon management and that Vanguard and State Street had likely done the same. All three financial giants have been openly considering casting their votes against management on this key proxy resolution.
Climate Risk, Science & Regulation
 
Bucking Trump, These Cities, States and Companies Commit to Paris Accord
 l The New York Times
  • Representatives of American cities, states and companies are preparing to submit a plan to the United Nations pledging to meet the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions targets under the Paris climate accord, despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement. The unnamed group — which, so far, includes 30 mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents and more than 100 businesses — is negotiating with the United Nations to have its submission accepted alongside contributions to the Paris climate deal by other nations.
Leaving the Paris Agreement Could Cripple American Businesses l Fortune
  • Pulling out of the Paris Agreement means the country won’t have to reduce its carbon emissions, which means it won’t have to invest in new wind, solar, or energy-efficiency technologies. But those technologies are where the job growth is. Solar jobs—which require lots of people to put panels on roofs—grew 25% last year, while wind jobs grew 32%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report. Those two industries now employ nearly 500,000 Americans. Coal mining is mostly done by machine, and now employs just 74,000 people, a decline of 39% from 2009. This article outlines several other reasons why pulling out of the Paris Agreement is bad for the US economy.
Withdrawal from Paris accord will spur interest in ESG, advisers say | Investment News
  • Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord won't lessen the need for ESG investing, financial advisers say. Rather, it will increase it. "My first reaction is a that it's bad day for the planet, a sad day for the economy, but a great day for sustainable investing,"
Trump Likely Won’t Stump Sustainable/ ESG Investing | Financial Advisor
  • There have been headlines aplenty about President Trump repealing environmental regulations through executive orders in the name of boosting business and corporate profits. But impact investing has momentum, and such policies from the top probably won’t change that in the coming years, say a number of experts in the field.
Trump’s Paris climate-accord stance may drive investors to environmental ETFs | Market Watch 
  • Exchange-traded funds dedicated to so-called environmentally friendly strategies and sectors have seen a surge of adoption under President Donald Trump, as investors look to offset an administration that isn’t viewed as supporting policies favorable to sustaining the Earth.
  • On Wednesday morning, the day of ExxonMobil’s AGM, a coalition of faith and non-faith groups are staging events to call for the Church of England to divest from the company. Hours before the resolution on climate change at ExxonMobil’s AGM in Houston, Texas - put forward by a group of institutional investors, including the Church of England – campaigners will be calling for the Church to sell its shares in the company whatever the outcome of the resolution. 
Students Occupy University of Auckland, Demanding Divestment From Fossil Fuels l Auckland Now
  • This week a climate change group took over the office of Auckland University's Vice Chancellor, protesting fossil fuel investments. Fourteen students from Fossil Free UoA sat outside Stuart McCutcheon's office in the university's clock tower building, demanding that he supports divestment from coal, oil and gas from the university's investment portfolio.
Need the University of Montana Leadership on Divestment l Missoulian
  • In this opinion piece, The University of Montana's divest campaign history is laid out, and a plea for leadership from the endowment in presented.