Weekly News Round-Up: August 10th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: August 10th, 2018

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

As we shared last week, starting in October, this Weekly News Round-Up will transition to a member-only resource.  If your organization is not already a member of IEN, please consider joining as a Contributing Member -- you can learn more about the rates and benefits on our website.

For the next two months, if you sign up to be a member of IEN, you will receive 20% off the first year of membership dues. If you are unsure if you are a member, have further questions, or are potentially eligible for an exemption based on individual circumstances, please contact us

In case you missed it, last week IEN released a new resource titled Hiring an Investment Consultant: Making Your ESG Intention Actionable. 

We are also now accepting proposals from college and university stakeholders for next-level conversations, workshops, and concurrent sessions for the 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit. Submit a proposal here.

 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

 

Nicole Harman 
Program Manager, The Intentional Endowments Network
www.intentionalendowments.org

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New Resources

Hiring an Investment Consultant: Making Your ESG Intention Actionable l The Intentional Endowments Network

  • This resource provides guidance for investors looking for an investment consultant who will help them align their portfolio with their mission throughout the investment process including (1) exploring investment beliefs, (2) defining objectives, setting strategic asset allocation and (3) risk budgeting, manager selection, and ongoing monitoring and reporting.
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments & Pensions

UK Churches Divest from Fossil Fuel Companies l Financial Times

  • This article highlights the work of Rev Hugh Lee, who has spent years campaigning to convince the Church of England to get rid of its holdings in fossil fuel companies in its £12bn investment pot. Last month, the Church's parliament voted 347 to 4 in favor of removing its holdings in fossil fuel companies that had not aligned their businesses with the Paris climate accord by 2023.

ESG Adoption Gaining Among U.S. Asset Owners – Callan Survey l Pensions & Investments

  • More than 40% of U.S. asset owners have incorporated environmental, social and governance factors into their investment decisions, up from 37% in 2017 and 22% in 2013, said Callan's annual ESG survey report, released Wednesday. The 43% of respondents reporting they have incorporated ESG factors is the highest level in the survey's six-year history. On the flip side, 54% of respondents said they do not incorporate ESG factors and 3% said they were unsure, the 2018 survey found.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Why Investors Should Diversify More Than Just Their Assets l Investment News

  • This article highlights how corporations with the most ethnically and culturally diverse boards are more likely to gain higher profits, and millennials particularly value SRI strategies that take such factors into consideration.

Investors Turn to Academia to Navigate Green Investing Boom l Financial Times

  • This article discuss how, at a conference next month, academics will meet for the first time to discuss the latest research on green and social investment. The inaugural gathering of the Global Research Alliance for Sustainable Finance and Investment comes a year after the network was set up by a group of academics in a bid to promote greater rigor and more academic research on impact investing.

Six Projects That Drive Quality and Assurance in ESG l Financial Times

  • This article highlights six initiatives that have been launched to help fund managers navigate the world of ESG and to enable clients to choose investment houses that take a serious view of sustainability, including PRI, the TCFD, and the UN SDGs.

Impact Investing: Don’t Call It Charity l Barron's

  • In this Q&A article, Amit Bouri, CEO of The GIIN, discusses the nature of the impact investing space, how impact is measured, and how returns compare to traditional investments.

An ETF Veteran Explains How She is Trying to Close the Gender Gap in Asset Management l Business Insider

  • This Q&A article features a conversation with Linda Zhang, the founder of ETF investment management firm Purview Investments, about her firm's strategy in a saturated market, how she's helping women in the asset management space, and the future of the investment industry.

ESG Managers Raise Alarm as Earth Overshoot Day is Passed l City Wire Selector

  • Earth Overshoot Day passed on August 1st, which means we have now used more nature resources than can be renewed for the entire year. In this article, City Wire interviews managers that discuss what this means for the sustainable investment space.

Prisons Are a Challenge for Ethical Investing l Barron's

  • This article describes the history of private prisons, how they related to ESG criteria, and how investors can address their impact on society in their portfolios.

Companies Need To Design In Sustainability To Products - And Investors Need To Encourage Them l Forbes

  • This article highlights the role investors can play in moving toward a circular economy -- a process that requires a significant shift in mindset, starting with the design process, which must ensure that goods not only have minimal environmental impact in terms of the use of water, energy and materials, but also that they can easily be repurposed or recycled through a “cradle-to-cradle” approach.

Opinion:  ‘ESG’ Has Lost its Way – Let’s Make it Useful Again l Financial News

  • This article suggests that it is time for investors and regulators to tweak their approach to ESG issues, which have become vague and open to interpretation.
 
Shareholder Engagement

How ESG Investing Can Help Address the Opioid Crisis l Think Advisor

  • A growing number of institutional investors are pursuing policy changes at drugmakers and distributors to help mitigate the crisis using shareholder resolutions and direct communications with corporate executives. For example, a coalition of state treasurers called Investors for Opioid Accountability (IOA), with a combined $1.3 trillion in assets, has filed 35 resolutions at 12 companies related to the opioid crisis. These include resolutions to separate the roles of CEO and chairman to foster better oversight, clawbacks of executive pay due to misconduct relating to the opioid crisis and requests for regular risk reports from the board.
 
Green Bonds

Can Green Bonds be the ‘Trojan Horse’ of Sustainable Financing? l Green Bonds

  • This article highlights how, according to the head of The Climate Bonds Initiative, green bonds can act as the trojan horse of sustainable financing by proving to investors that investing in environmentally beneficial projects can yield good returns.

 

General Higher Education Endowment News

University of Michigan Considers Changing Investment Policy l Detroit News

  • University of Michigan officials are considering allowing financial administrators to make investment decisions outside of public meetings. University officials announced the proposed change on Thursday. The Board of Regents currently considers investment moves at its monthly meetings. The proposal would move that responsibility to the investment office staff. The board would then only vote on broad guidelines for the university’s investments.

TIAA Wins Major Outsourced-CIO Mandate For Georgia Endowment l Institutional Investor

  • Augusta University’s Medical College of Georgia Foundation has selected a TIAA subsidiary to manage its $240 million endowment as an outsourced-chief investment officer (OCIO).

 

Investment Firm News

2018 North Sky Capital Impact Report l North Sky Capital

  • This impact report discusses in detail how North Sky Capital has, across six funds to date, provided the capital necessary for sustainability-focused companies to reduce and reverse humanity’s negative impacts on our environment, while maintaining the parallel goal of generating attractive investment returns. 

FFI, Clean Edge, and Alpha Vee Solutions Join Forces to Create New Energy Transition Index l Cision

  • Index providers FFI, Clean Edge, and Alpha Vee Solutions announced a partnership this week to co-develop the Energy Transition Index, a thematic investment opportunity optimized for investors looking to shift their assets away from fossil fuels and toward clean-energy innovation and deployment.

Sustainable Investing for Institutions: A Case Study l CPA Journal

  • This article highlights how, at TIFF Investment Management—a not-for-profit outsourced CIO firm managing approximately $9 billion on behalf of roughly 600 not-for-profit member institutions and this author’s employer — ESG research is one component of the manager selection process.

BlackRock launches ESG range of EMD funds l Investment Week

  • This article highlights how BlackRock has unveiled a suite of four open-ended ESG-focused emerging market debt funds, using specialist benchmark indices created in collaboration with J.P.Morgan.

Aon Develops ESG Rating System for Fund Managers l Actuarial Post

  • Aon has developed an ESG rating system for buy-rated investment strategies. The system is designed to assess whether and how well investment managers integrate Responsible Investment (RI), and more specifically ESG considerations, into their investment decision making process.
 
Climate Risk, Science, Regulation & Clean Energy

Corporate Giants Are Buying so Much Clean Power This Year They Already Broke 2017's Record l Bloomberg

  • Businesses and public agencies are buying more clean energy than ever before. Companies and agencies, excluding utilities, agreed to buy 7.2 gigawatts of clean energy worldwide so far this year, already shattering the record of 5.4 gigawatts for all of 2017, according to a report Friday from Bloomberg NEF.

Recycling Can Put Money in Every American’s Pocket l Medium

  • This article highlights how leading municipalities, recyclers, manufactures and brands are starting to partner together to establish, and profit from, a circular economy in the United States where goods are continually manufactured using recycled material from local recycling programs. This partnership in developing a circular economy will result in one of the largest investment opportunities in the United States over the next decade.

 

Fossil Fuel Divestment

University of British Columbia Alma Mater Society Council Votes to Divest From Fossil Fuels in New Investment Policy l The Ubyssey

  • UBC Alma Mater Society Council has approved a fossil fuel-free mandate for the society’s investment policy yesterday, after hearing interests about this divestment at its June 20 Council meeting. The AMS investment portfolio is managed by BMO and RBC Phillips, Hager & North Investment Funds Ltd. (PH&N), with RBC set to manage the majority of AMS finances in the future.
 
 
Calendar of Upcoming Events

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

Croatan Forum l Croatan Institute, October 2-4, 2018, Durham, NC

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference l AASHE, October 2-5, 2018, Pittsburg, PA

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