Weekly News Round-Up: July 13th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: July 13th, 2018

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

In case you missed it -- be sure to check out our most recent newsletter highlighting The University of New Hampshire  and their history of sustainability and sustainable investing, an exclusive Q&A with three leaders in the gender lens investing space on the risks and opportunities associated with gender lens investing, and several exciting updates from the Network!

Also, registration is still open for Monday's webinar on  Aligning University Investments With Carbon Reduction Goals in the UK Through Fossil Fuel Divestment, taking place at 11:00 a.m. ET.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Program Manager

The Intentional Endowments Network

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IEN in the News

July 2018 Newsletter l Intentional Endowments Network

  • This issue of IEN's newsletter highlights The University of New Hampshire and their history of sustainability and sustainable investing, an exclusive Q&A with three leaders in the gender lens investing space on the risks and opportunities associated with gender lens investing, and several exciting updates from the Network!
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Briefs l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how sovereign wealth funds created by big oil riches are readying new bets on renewable power; Wind investment is up in the first half of the year but solar slowed; and companies and investors are finding more common ground on shareholder proposals. 

New Jersey Making Big Push on ESG Investing l Chief Investment Officer

  • In March, New Jersey withdrew its holdings in all automatic and semi-automatic firearms companies, following a nationwide divestment pattern in pension plans after a mass of shootings. In recent months, it also pressured two private equity firms against foreclosing on Puerto Ricans affected by Hurricane Maria and told Target not to work with trucking companies that see their drivers as contractors rather than employees. This is just one step in an ESG policy the Garden State is working on for its pension investments; it also aims to tackle corporate governance reforms. 

Catholic Super CEO Heads Up Sustainable Investment Talks With Global Leaders in Rome l Catholic Outlook

  • Global leaders in the Catholic and business community converged in Vatican City last week for the 3rd Rome Roundtable, cementing actions to make the world’s economy fairer and more sustainable. Catholic Super CEO Frank Pegan, who represented the investment community at the meeting in his capacity as Chair of the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), said the premier global meeting sought to strengthen the notion of ‘co-operative globalization’ to achieve more sustainable prosperity around the world.

Sustainable Heros - Green Leaders in Focus l Greentech Capital Advisors

  • This magazine highlights leaders in the sustainability field, with this issue highlighting a corporate leader, an Arctic explorer, a highly admired policy builder, an innovative investor and an entrepreneurial foundation president - all of whom share the goal of creating a sustainable world that is more resilient as well as financially stable. 

AI Is Helping Open ESG Investments to Quant Funds: Cerulli l Think Advisor

  • According to the July edition of the Cerulli Edge, AI is enabling investors to access huge amounts of information from objective sources, bringing greater frequency, granularity, and real-time analysis to ESG investments. “The use of big data and AI is radically transforming data gathering,” Justina Deveikyte, associate director of European institutional research at Cerulli, said in a statement. 

New Terrain: In Search of Social Justice Impact Investing l Inside Philanthropy 

  • Impact investing is still a fledgling practice in mainstream philanthropy, but its popularity is growing in a big way. This article explores how, for many institutions, especially those with social justice missions, there are big questions about how exactly to execute a hugely varying set of tactics that get lumped under the same rubric of impact investing. One of those institutions is the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, a small and progressive family foundation with a strong mission for social change—and a $55 million endowment it’s trying to put to best use. 

Catholic Relief Services Launches Water Project at Vatican Meeting on Impact Investing l National Catholic Reporter

  • Regular access to clean water is a challenge for some 2.1 billion people around the world, and Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops' overseas relief and development agency, has launched an impact investment project designed to help local communities improve their water and sanitation service.

The Remarkable Rise Of ESG l Forbes

  • This article discusses how ESG investing has matured to the point where it can greatly accelerate market transformation for the better. As corporations and investors experience growing influence and power, their actions and decisions increasingly shape the future. Provided that political framework conditions based on openness and global rules do not deteriorate further, market-led changes will act as a force for good on a truly massive scale.

Europe’s Banks Move to Greener Finance in Response to Climate Change Risks l Insurance Journal

  • This article highlights how some of Europe’s largest banks are unveiling plans to lend and manage money in greener ways as pressure mounts to account for risks associated with climate change.
 

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 Sustainable Investing in Retirement Funds

Adding Sustainable Investments to Higher Education Retirement Plans l Natixis Investment Managers & The Intentional Endowments Network

  • According to survey data gathered by the Natixis Center for Investor Insight, 82% of respondents would like their investments to reflect their personal values. And more than six in ten indicated they would be more likely to contribute to – or increase – their retirement plan contributions if they knew their investments were doing social good. This new report highlights new ways to put theory into action.

Where Are We With ESG Interest In 401ks? l 4o1K Specialist

  • This article discusses how plan fiduciaries are seeing increased interest in social, or impact, investing as an option in their plan offerings. 
 
Climate Risk, Science, Regulation & Clean Energy

Climate Action 100+ Investors Scale Up Engagement With Greenhouse Gas Emitters, Add More Focus Companies to Drive Clean Energy Transition l Climate Action 100+

  • Investor signatories to Climate Action 100+ have scaled up engagement with systemically important greenhouse gas emitters, while expanding their focus list of companies, adding 61 companies that have significant opportunities to drive the clean energy transition and help achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. Launched in December 2017 at the One Planet Summit, with 225 investors with $26 trillion in assets under management, Climate Action 100+ is now backed by 289 investors with nearly $30 trillion in assets under management, mobilizing across 29 countries. 

Swiss Re Establishes Thermal Coal Policy to Support Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy l Swiss Re

  • This week, Swiss Re starts the implementation of its thermal coal policy announced in June 2017. Under the coal policy, Swiss Re will not provide re/insurance to businesses with more than 30% exposure to thermal coal across all lines of business. It is a further step in refining Swiss Re’s approach to managing carbon-related sustainability risks and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Pope on Climate Crisis: Continue to Work for Radical Change l Vatican News

  • An international conference is being held in Rome this week for the third anniversary of Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical, "Laudato si’: On Care for our Common Home." The two-day conference is focusing on the theme “Saving our Common Home and the Future of Life on Earth.” This article outlines his opening remarks.

Time to End Moratorium on Wind Energy Development in NC l Herald Sun

  • In this opinion piece, Natasha Lamb, Managing Partner at Arjuna Capital, discusses how North Carolina’s innovative, forward-thinking clean energy policies are essential for growing the economy. Policies created in anticipation of a boom in renewable energy incentivized local businesses to help pave the way for a thriving solar industry, which has created jobs and provided a competitive edge over neighboring states. Now, North Carolina must stay the course to realize the full economic potential of clean energy. Allowing the state’s nascent wind energy industry to grow and flourish is a prime example.

 

Investment Firm News 

Hermes: Sustainable Investors Can Have Their Cake & Eat It l City Wire

  • Fund manager Hermes hopes that its Impact Opportunities Equity fund will demonstrate that investing sustainably does not necessarily mean sacrificing performance. The Hermes Impact Opportunities Equity fund was launched in January and aims to increase prosperity in society through sustainable impact investing.
  • Former BlackRock Managing Director and current CamberView Partners Senior Advisor Chad Spitler is pleased to announce the launch of Third Economy LLC, a dedicated environmental, social and governance (ESG) and sustainable investing advisory firm that aims to further mainstream investors ability to profit and create positive impact. Third Economy intends to bring to all investors the depth of insight previously only available to the world's largest investors. 
 
 
General Higher Education Endowment News

University of Pittsburgh’s Endowment Names New CIO l Institutional Investor

  • The University of Pittsburgh has appointed a new chief investment officer for its $3.95 billion endowment. Greg Schuler, investment chief and treasurer at BJC HealthCare in St. Louis, was approved by university trustees Friday to join Pitt’s investment staff. He will join the endowment around August 20, according to a university spokesman.

IRS Proposes Regulations to Soften Endowment Tax Hit l Chief Investment Officer

  • The IRS has issued a notice saying that it and the Department of the Treasury plan to propose regulations that will not only provide clarification on the so-called endowment tax but could lessen the hit to colleges and universities who are subjected to it. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 added section 4968 to the tax code, which imposes a 1.4% excise tax on the net investment income of private colleges and universities with at least 500 students, and with assets of at least $500,000 per full-time student. According to the IRS, an estimated 40 or fewer institutions are affected by the tax.

Brown University Promotes Dowling to CEO of $3.7 Billion Fund l Bloomberg

  • Brown University promoted Joseph Dowling III to the new post of chief executive officer as the $3.7 billion endowment restructures operations and looks to develop new investment opportunities.

Endowments Fund New Takes on Higher Ed l Institutional Investor

  • With the backing of endowments, University Ventures is seeking to remake higher education.The investments come at a time when U.S. colleges and universities are under pressure to reduce student debt, reach lower-income students and under-represented minorities, and align their investments with social and environmental goals. University Ventures, whose investors are primarily endowments – University of Texas Investment Management Co. was an anchor investor in University Ventures’ first fund – is also challenging traditional educational models in higher education.

 
Fossil Fuel Divestment

Ireland to Lead the Way on Giving Up Investments in Fossil Fuels l The Times

  • Ireland is one step closer to becoming the first country to divest funding from fossil fuels after the government agreed to back a bill blocking investment. Paschal Donohoe, the finance minister, secured agreement from his cabinet colleagues yesterday to back plans to ban the National Treasury Management Agency, which manages the assets of the state, from investing in fossil fuels, meaning any existing investments must be given up.

 Church of England Votes for Oil and Gas Divestment Push l Business Green

  • The Church of England has become the latest religious body to flesh out its fossil fuel divestment plans, confirming it will sell shares in oil and gas firms that fail to develop decarbonisation strategies.

Queens' Divests Away From Carbon Intensive Industries l The Cambridge Student

  • Queens’ has followed Peterhouse to become the second college in Cambridge to both endorse and implement full-scale divestment away from “carbon-intensive industries”. This comes just days after the University of Loughborough agreed to move its investments out of fossil fuel-based companies.
 
 
Calendar of Upcoming Events

Webinar: Aligning University Investments With Carbon Reduction Goals in the UK Through Fossil Fuel Divestment l Intentional Endowments Network, July 16th, 2018, 11:00 am EST / 4:00 pm BST

Webinar: How Investors Can Address Forced Labor
Risks in Electronics Supply Chains l Investor Alliance For Human Rights, July 19th, 10:00 a.m. ET

Webinar: Divesting from Climate Science Deniers - The Barnard College Story l Intentional Endowments Network, July 26th, 2018, 1:00 am EST

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