Weekly News Round-Up: July 27th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: July 27th, 2018

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

Be sure to review IEN's new Briefing Paper on Options for Endowment Investment in Solar Energy, which focuses on how to most effectively enable endowments to make investments in solar projects and the solar energy market as a whole.

In case you missed it, a recording of yesterday's webinar on Barnard College's Divestment from Climate Science Deniers is available on our website.

Additionally, if your institution has plans to announce a fossil fuel divestment commitment, please look into this opportunity to participate in a global press event being organized by the Divest-Invest Network around the Global Climate Action Summit in September.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

 

Program Manager

The Intentional Endowments Network

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New Resources 

Briefing Paper: Options for Endowment Investment in Solar Energy l The Intentional Endowments Network

  • This briefing paper focuses on solar energy and how to most effectively enable endowments to make investments in solar projects, and the solar energy market as a whole. It provides guidance on three main approaches endowments can utilize to invest in solar: allocating capital across traditional asset classes in the investment portfolio, sponsoring a project by investing funds for its development, and allocating capital to a campus green revolving fund. 

Update on Barnard College's Approach to Divestment l Barnard College

  • This updated page includes overviews of the 30 companies evaluated in Barnard's assessment of companies that deny climate science, FFI’s divestment and climate action executive summary and fossil fuel divestment and climate action methodology, and case studies showing how three anonymized fossil fuel companies scored against criteria.
 
Opportunities for Action

Scholarship Opportunity to Attend Global Climate Action Summit l Youth Step Up

  • This contest, organized by Our Climate, invites young people from across the U.S. to submit their ideas for bold solutions to combat climate change via a creative project and essay. Winners will receive prizes of up to $5,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the summit in San Francisco on September 12-14, 2018. The goal of the contest is to engage young people from across the U.S. in international climate discussions and accelerate even greater levels of youth action on climate solutions. Submissions are due August 3.
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments 

University of Manchester Signs up to UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment l Manchester Newsroom

  • The University of Manchester has signed up for PRI, becoming the first English Russell Group University to join the organization. Stephen Dauncey, Director of Finance, said: “Our Revised Policy for Socially Responsible Investment has been in place for just over 12 months now and during that time we have made significant progress with our Investment Managers to allow us to pursue a sustainable approach to investment without compromising our investment returns. Subscribing to the PRI’s principles is the next step for us to show our commitment to our third goal of social responsibility.”

Northwest School Moving Toward Socially Responsible Investing l Capitol Hill Times

  • This article discusses how the Northwest School has recently announced plans to fully transition its $10.4 million endowment to socially and environmentally responsible funds.

Queens’ College, Cambridge Launches ETF Portfolio as Part of Carbon Divestment Strategy l ETF Strategy

  • Queens’ College, Cambridge has allocated part of its £55m global equity investment exposure to a self-managed portfolio constructed using equity sector ETFs, specifically to exclude extractive and carbon-intensive industries. The move is part of a package of measures developed by specialist consultant ElstonETF to enable Queens’ to respond to the concerns of the carbon divestment lobby without losing sight of primary investment objectives.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Investing

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights how market regulators around the world are increasingly providing incentives to grow the green bond market; City climate change suits against fossil fuel companies get another blow and spark a warning to companies; Trump administration targets California's tailpipe rules; and the poor don't deserve toxic dumps in their backyard, writes Bloomberg Opinion's Noah Smith. 

The New NAACP Fund Shows ESG ETFs Are Evolving l benzinga

  • As more investors consider ESG strategies, fund issuers are bringing new spins on responsible investing to market. The Impact Shares NAACP Minority Empowerment ETF, was launched in partnership between Impact Shares, the first ETF provider structured as a non-profit entity; and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The new ETF follows the Morningstar Minority Empowerment Index, which provides exposure to U.S. companies that stand out for their commitment to racial and ethnic diversity.

The Next Step in Impact Investing: Breaking the Shackles of Extractive Thinking l Stanford Social Innovation Review

  • This article argues that as impact investing matures, it’s worth asking: Can we finance mission-driven enterprises in a way that shifts the core emphasis to regenerative environmental and social benefits?

5 ESG ETFs Outperforming the Broader Market l NASDAQ

  • In past three months, several ESG ETFs beat the S&P 500 (up about 5.6%). Investors should note that past three months were all about trade war tensions, mainly between the United States and China and between the United States and several of its key trading partners on a broader sense. This article highlights some of the outperforming ESG funds in the three-month period.
 
Shareholder Engagement

What’s Behind a Pitch for the Little-Guy Investor? Big Money Interests l New York Times

  • Main Street Investors Coalition is a Washington organization that purports to represent the little guy — the retail investor that it says has no voice in corporate America. The group has been not-so-quietly circulating a white paper and various studies in hopes of influencing an examination by the Securities and Exchange Commission of regulations that affect investors. The group is actually funded by big business interests that want to diminish the ability of pension funds and large 401(k) plans — where most little guys keep their money — to influence certain corporate governance issues.

Perspectives on Exxon Mobil Exiting Lobbying Group ALEC l Walden Asset Management

  • This post highlights the importance of shareholder engagement in shifting company behavior in the context of the role of shareholders in Exxon Mobil's recent exit from ALEC.
 
Sustainable Investing in Retirement Pension Funds

NY Pension Fund to Divest Private Prison Holdings l Chief Investment Officer

  • New York State Controller Thomas DiNapoli has approved a new policy that calls for the $206.9 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund’s to purge its investments in companies that own or operate private prisons.

Investor Takes $37bn Pension Fund to Court Over ESG l City Wire

  • A 23-year-old pension fund investor is taking the Rest Pension – a AUD 50 billion (US$37 billion) superannuation – to court claiming it failed to disclose exposure to climate change risk. According to reports in the Australian media, Mark McVeigh launched the challenge in the Federal Court after having had trouble finding out what his being done to protect his retirement savings.

ESG Investing Is Missing From Most Retirement Plans l Think Advisor

  • A new survey by NEPC, an investment consulting firm, finds that 88% of corporate defined benefit and defined contribution plan sponsors have not incorporated environmental, social and governance investing into their plans. However, 29% of survey respondents said they were interested in doing so. The poll found that among sponsors that have incorporated ESG, 70% were defined contribution plans, and 62% of these were health care focused organizations.
 
 Community Impact Investing

Trends: Investment Opportunities in Sustainable Cities l The Edge Markets

  • This article explores how innovative forms of financing, such as urban wealth funds, green bonds and social bonds, can help facilitate efficient and targeted infrastructure investments -- leading to greater economic growth, higher employment, more tax revenue and lower social costs.
 
Climate Risk, Science, Regulation & Clean Energy

Oil Companies Rush to Prove Sustainability Bona Fides, as Investors Circle l Houston Chronicle

  • This article contains an interview with Andrew Logan, Oil and Gas Director at Ceres, on how investors are sitting down to discuss climate change, political influence and human right abuses with the CEOs and senior management of companies such as Apache Corp., Conoco Phillips, and Occidental Petroleum.  

Earth's Resources Consumed in Ever Greater Destructive Volumes l The Guardian

  • Humanity is devouring our planet’s resources in increasingly destructive volumes, according to a new study that reveals we have consumed a year’s worth of carbon, food, water, fibre, land and timber in a record 212 days. 

Climate Change is Supercharging a Hot and Dangerous Summer l Washington Post

  • This article highlights how this summer's brutal weather has been supercharged by human-induced climate change, according to scientists. Climate models for three decades have predicted exactly what the world is seeing this summer. Scientists predict that it will get hotter — and that what is a record today could someday be the norm.

 

General Higher Education Endowment News

2018 NACUBO Awards Honor Individual, Institutional Excellence in Higher Education l Cision

  • The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) has recognized six outstanding professionals and three universities with 2018 NACUBO Awards. NACUBO's annual awards honor individual and institutional excellence in higher education business and financial management and were presented during several association events in 2018—most recently, the NACUBO 2018 Annual Meeting taking place in Long Beach, CA.

Two University of California Investment Managers Replace Departees l Chief Investment Officer

  • The University of California Regents’ office is expanding the responsibilities of two of its executives to help cover the slack left by recent departures in the investment operation. In addition to their other duties, Samuel Kunz, managing director of asset allocation and investment strategy, will run passive public equity investments. Ronnie Swinkels, director, public equity, will also be in charge of the active decisions. Their titles will not change. They will now report directly to the university’s chief investment officer, Jagdeep Singh Bachher.

University of Michigan Endowment Adds $100m to Real Estate Portfolio l Investments & Pensions Europe

  • University of Michigan Endowment has approved three new real estate commitments totaling $100m. The institutional investor said in its board meeting report that it will put $40m into Thackeray Realty Partners Fund V, $50m into Emet Municipal Real Estate Strategic Fund II and $10m into the Zell Equity International VI Pegasus-Co Investment.
 
Private Prison Divestment

CalSTRS Begins Review of Holdings of Private Prison Companies l Chief Investment Officers

  • The chief investment officer of the second-largest US retirement plan, the $224 billion California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), has ordered a review to determine if the pension organization should divest from the stock and bonds of two public companies that run private prisons.
 
 
Calendar of Upcoming Events

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