Weekly News Round-Up: June 8th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: June 8th, 2018

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

Be sure to check out the article below discussing North Carolina State University’s ESG journey & performance, as well as an article detailing Lewis & Clark College's sustainable investing process.

Registration is still open for IEN members to attend Confluence Philanthropy's 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!

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager
The Intentional Endowments Network

 
New Resources

Annual Impact Investor Survey 2017 l The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN)

  • The GIIN’s 2017 Annual Impact Investor Survey is based on an analysis of the activities of 209 of the world’s leading impact investing organizations, including fund managers, foundations, banks, development finance institutions, family offices, pension funds, and insurance companies. Survey respondents collectively manage nearly USD 114 billion in impact assets, a figure which serves as the best-available “floor” for the size of the impact investing market.

Foundations of ESG Investing – Part 4: Integrating ESG Investing Into Factor Strategies and Active Portfolios l MSCI

  • This paper discusses two approaches to applying ESG ratings to factor-based allocations, and then investigates overlaying ESG ratings and ESG momentum on the historical holdings of nearly 1,200 actively managed global equity funds.
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments & Pensions

NC State Built a ‘Responsible’ Fund That’s Outperforming Its Main Portfolio l Bloomberg

  • “There are so many more opportunities today than there were when we started out,” said Libby George, director of invest­ments for the North Carolina State University endowment, when discussing the endowment's socially responsible fund in this article outlining North Carolina State University’s ESG journey & performance, as well as sections on Pitzer College, University of Maryland, Hampshire College, and BlackRock's work in the space.

The Dividends of Divestment at Lewis & Clark l Lewis & Clark College

  • In February 2018, the Lewis & Clark Board of Trustees passed a new policy calling for divestment within five years. The college would immediately cease making new investments in “the largest owners of coal, oil, and natural gas reserves” and start the process of selling off existing investments. This article discusses their divestment process.

CalPERS Teams Up With Canadian Pensions for Infrastructure, ESG Initiatives l Institutional Investor

  • Institutional investors including some of the largest pension funds in North America have pledged support to a trio of G7 initiatives focused on diversity, infrastructure, and climate change. The group represents more than $6 trillion in assets under management.

The Academic World Must Take Action for More Responsible, Sustainable Finance (Opinion) l MENAFN

  • This article calls out higher education institutions and their inability to create new innovative courses linked with the needs of economy and society, highlighting that the academic world has the power to transform society by redefining its social mission.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how a surprise policy shift by Beijing pummeled shares of solar power producers there; Some automakers are fine being last to the electric car party; and venture capital investors are looking for lower-risk clean energy opportunities in Asia, says Daniel Hersson, a consultant to the Asian Development Bank. 

Moody’s Says Sustainable Investment Rules Are “Credit Negative” l Funds Europe

  • Moody’s said recent EC proposals on sustainable finance were likely to raise asset managers’ operational and compliance costs and were a “credit negative” for the industry. But firms with the right infrastructure will gain flows from investors wanting strategies related to ESG investing.

Europe Moving Ahead on Standardizing Sustainable Investing l Pensions & Investments

  • Nathalie Berger, head of unit insurance and pensions at directorate general for financial stability, financial services and capital markets union of the EC, said the commission is working on introducing better transparency when it comes to strategies aimed at fostering a low-carbon economy. The work follows a proposal by the commission on May 24 calling for investors and money managers to integrate sustainable finance considerations into their investment processes.

How to Avoid ‘Impact Washing’ in ESG’s Fastest-Growing Sector l Investments & Pensions Europe

  • Third-party certification, shared principles, or a code of conduct could help guard against product providers exaggerating their impact investing claims, according to a survey by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN). More survey respondents were in favor of greater transparency on impact strategy and results, with 80% agreeing that this would help mitigate the risk of “mission drift”.

CoGS Recommends Responsible Investing Guidelines For Church Funds l Anglican Journal

  • A set of guidelines on divestment and other responsible investing practices has been recommended by Council of General Synod (CoGS) for use by Anglican and Anglican-affiliated organizations in Canada that hold managed funds.

Farming, Food and Education Benefit as Investing for Good Booms l Reuter's

  • This article highlights some of the findings from the GIIN 's 2017 survey, which found the impact investing market was worth $114 billion. The survey also showed strong growth in sectors that historically accounted for a smaller share of such investments, including education and food and agriculture.
 
 Opportunities for Action

US SIF Foundation Opens 2018 Survey on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends l Digital Journal

  • The window is still open for the US SIF Foundation's 2018 Biennial Trends Survey. The survey will provide data for the 2018 edition of its Trends report.  For reference, please see the 2016 report and this piece showing Highlights from Educational Institutions. To request a customized link to participate, contact the US SIF research team at trends@ussif.org. All survey responses are confidential. 
 
Fiduciary Duty 

RI is Changing the Meaning of “Fiduciary Duty” l Investment Executive

  • The concept behind “fiduciary duty” is shifting from a legal term to an investment-related one, said Michael Jantzi, CEO of Amsterdam-based Sustainalytics, in his keynote speech at the Responsible Investment Association conference held in Toronto on Monday.
 
 
General Investment & Investment Manager News 

Buffett, Dimon Team Up to Curb ‘Unhealthy Focus’ on Quarterly Earnings l Wall Street Journal

  • James Dimon and Warren Buffett are urging companies to consider ending the practice of providing quarterly earnings guidance, arguing that it encourages an “unhealthy focus” on short-term profits at the expense of long-term growth and economic strength. Mr. Dimon, the chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Mr. Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said the pressure to meet quarterly estimates for earnings per share leads companies to hold back on the spending, hiring and research and development.

American Red Cross Outsources Investments to Cambridge Associates l Institutional Investor

  • Nearly six months after dismissing chief investment officer Greg Williamson in favor of an outsourced-CIO model, the American Red Cross has selected its new investment manager. The nonprofit has hired Cambridge Associates’ OCIO unit CA Capital Management to manage its pension fund and endowment, according to a statement provided to Institutional Investor on Thursday.
 
 
Sustainable Development Goals

World Bank Launches Sustainable Development Bond to Focus Attention on Improving the Health and Nutrition of Women, Children, Adolescents l Relief Web

  • The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD, Aaa/AAA) has issued a CAD 60 million 10-year Eurobond that raises funds for its sustainable development activities around the world. Japan Post Insurance was the sole investor in this transaction.

Unlock Capital Flows to Pursue Climate and Development Goals l Landscape News

  • This article highlights the discussions that took place this week at the Global Landscape Forum Investment Case Symposium, hosted by the World Bank. The event brings together 250 delegates from industry, the financial sector, academia, civil society and multilateral organizations discuss how to align the financial system with sustainable goals.

How the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Undermine Democracy (Opinion) l Quartz

  • This article discusses how the SDGs are pushing an agenda carefully calibrated to avoid upsetting the world’s political leaders, and how if you search the 17 SDGs you will fail to find a single mention of the word “democracy,” and out of thousands of words of text, “human rights” is mentioned merely once.
 
General Higher Education Endowment & Sustainability News

UC Irvine Sustainability Efforts Earn Rare STARS Platinum Rating l UCI

  • Joining an elite club of environmentally outstanding institutions, the University of California, Irvine has become only the fourth campus in the world to achieve a platinum rating through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System. 
 
Fossil Fuel Divestment

National Pressure Grows for Cambridge to Fully Divest Ahead of Council Decision l The Varsity

  • 16 Members of Parliament came forward this week urging Cambridge to commit to full divestment when the University Council – its chief decision-making body – will meet to decide whether to withdraw all of Cambridge’s presently-held indirect investments in fossil fuels industries.
 
 
Calendar of Upcoming Events
IEN Roundtable: Community Impact Investing l Intentional Endowments Network, June 11, 2018, Boston, MA
  • The Intentional Endowments Network will host a Community Impact Investing Roundtable focused on opportunities for place-based investing. The Roundtable will convene endowment and foundation decision-makers and other stakeholders interested in enhancing their leadership on sustainable investing.

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

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