Weekly News Round-Up: August 31st, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: August 31st, 2018

Please find this week's news round-up below. 

Registration is open for our 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit (Feb. 10-12 in Tempe, AZ), and the latest information is available on our new Summit website. Please register soon to join us for this exciting event!

And don't forget, in September 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.

If you will be in San Francisco for the GCAS next month, please join us for the Higher Education Leadership on Carbon Pricing Event on Thursday, September 13th. At this side event, leaders from colleges and universities spearheading carbon pricing action will showcase their solutions and impacts to-date through panels, presentations, and audience discussion.

Have a great weekend,
Nicole

 

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

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New Resources and Reports

The ESG Integration Paradox l Michael Cappucci, Harvard Management Company

  • Today, most investment managers have something to say about ESG issues, and written ESG policies are ubiquitous. Yet, actual ESG incorporation practices vary greatly, with most investment managers falling well short of full integration. Only a few firms seem to be using ESG factors to deliver alpha, hence, the paradox. This report outlines a paradox, where a “valley” of lower returns exists when portfolios first absorb the costs of ESG integration before the promised benefits materialize. 
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments and Pensions

Yale Pledges Not to Invest in Assault Weapon Retailers l Yale Daily News

  • This article discusses how Yale will not invest in any retail outlet that sells assault weapons to the general public, a move that was announced last week.

Ireland’s Taking $380 Million Out of Fossil Fuels. Where Should it Go? l Nation of Change

  • This summer, Ireland pledged to become the world’s first country to divest from fossil fuels. Should the divestment bill pass the Irish Senate in the fall, which it is expected to do, Ireland will sell off its nearly $380 million in investments in the fossil fuel industry. This article discusses where will the revenue from this divested money go.

Irish Bishops Announce Divestment From Fossil Fuels Ahead of The Pope’s Visit l Religion News Service

  • Hours before the arrival of Pope Francis, the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference announced it would divest from fossil fuels. The move comes in response to Francis’ 2015 environmental encyclical, “Laudato Si,” (or “On Care for Our Common Home”), and follows the introduction of a bill in the Irish Parliament requiring the country’s sovereign wealth fund to divest from all fossil fuels.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Switzerland Tops Alternatives Allocation in Six Key Pension Markets l Investments & Pensions Europe

  • This article discusses a report on pensions done by UBS Asset Management, which highlights that sustainable investing is now at an inflection point. “It has moved from a niche investment strategy to a new standard for investment management,” UBS said, “enabled by the increased availability of material, non-financial data commonly referred to under the umbrella of ESG, or environmental, social and governance criteria”.

Should Impact Investors Aim for Market Returns? l Portfolio Adviser

  • This article discusses how ESG’s recent outperformance is likely to have shifted the perception of impact investing. Research from risk and performance analytics provider Axioma released earlier this month said the majority of portfolios weighted in favor of companies with better ESG scores outperformed their benchmarks by between 81 and 243 basis points in the four years to March 2018. This may help convince more traditional investors of the benefits of ESG, and in turn the benefits of impact as a viable alternative to a traditional fund.

Why We're All Impact Investors Now l Chicago Booth Review

  • This article highlights Larry Fink's letter to companies, and discusses how society is increasingly turning to the private sector and asking that companies respond to broader societal challenges. 

Private Equity: Where Does it Stand in Terms of Sustainability? l FI News

  • Private equity investments are becoming increasingly attractive in light of low interest rates and high stock market valuations. But for investors, the level of sustainability in the industry is also important. 
 

Green Bonds

How to Build a Sustainable Bond Portfolio l Bloomberg

  • Wall Street’s do-good investment boom is finally taking notice of the credit markets. Sustainable investment assets grew 37% last year, according to Bloomberg data, but the majority of those funds focus on stocks. This article highlights how, with a dearth of available fixed-income products categorized as ESG, investors haven’t looked at it much. “But that creates more demand on the part of asset managers to create those opportunities,” he says.

The Other Side Of SRI l Financial Advisor

  • This article discusses how, while investors are growing ever more comfortable with the concept of SRI investments, most are only applying these principles to one part of their portfolios, the equity allocation. Financial advisors who serve these clients can add value by introducing them to fixed income vehicles that complement their existing sustainable holdings, sonsidering fixed income the “other side” of SRI.
 

Gender Lens Investing

How Gender Pay Gap Data is Being Used in Investor Engagement l Professional Pensions

  • Since April, firms with more than 250 employees have had to report gender pay gap data. This article explores how asset managers and pension schemes are using this in their engagement strategies.

Impact Shares Launches Women's Empowerment ETF l Market Watch

  • Impact Shares, the upstart, non-profit exchange-traded funds issuer, added to its lineup Monday with the debut of the Impact Shares YWCA Women’s Empowerment ETF. The new ETF tracks the Morningstar Women’s Empowerment Index. WOMN's underlying index uses “gender equality data and scoring methodology of Equileap, which represents 200 companies culled from 1200 of the largest U.S.-listed publicly traded companies based on each company’s Gender Equality Score, which is evaluated under a set of 19 gender equality criteria,” according to Impact Shares.

SEAF Launches Gender Equality Scorecard l The Virginia Pilot

  • SEAF, the emerging market impact investing firm, has announced the launch of its proprietary Gender Equality Scorecard(GES) , which will be a vital tool to support the promotion and achievement of women's economic empowerment and gender equality in SEAF's global investments. The GES is initially being piloted in SEAF's investments in Southeast Asia and it is expected to be used eventually across SEAF's world-wide, impact investing platform.
 
General Higher Education Endowment & Sustainability News

2018 Sustainable Campus Index l AASHE

  • The Sustainable Campus Index highlights the most sustainable colleges and universities in 17 impact areas and overall by institution type, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).

University of Colorado Endowment Gains 11% on Alternative Wagers l Bloomberg

  • The University of Colorado Foundation investments gained 11 percent for the fiscal year, a strong showing as endowments begin reporting their performance. The fund was valued at $1.67 billion as of June 30, with $1.36 billion coming from the Colorado endowment, according to a university report. The fund notched an annualized gain of 7.5 percent over three years.
 
Investment Firm News

Private Equity Fund and Impact Investing l Hubbis

  • In this article, the co-founder of 8F Asset Management speaks about impact investing and raising capital. 8F Asset Management is offering investors a more transparent way to allocate to the private equity asset class. The company was built on the premise of bringing unique and sustainable opportunities in private equity but with a preidentified portfolio of investments in partnership with leading strategic investors and innovative but proven technology.

One Man’s Quest to Make Socially Responsible Investing More Responsible l Bloomberg

  • This article highlights how Impact Shares creates funds with charities and passes along fees, and while investors cheer socially responsible ETFs, they don’t buy them.
 
Climate Risk, Science, Regulation & Clean Energy

Cape Town's Water `Near Miss' Shows Scarcity Risks, UBS Says l Bloomberg

  • This article highlights how Cape Town's drought experience should be a warning for cities worldwide, and banks, retailers among S. African sectors at risk from repeat.

Pollution Costs at Decade High Squeeze Industry, Coal in Europe l Bloomberg

  • This article highlights how carbon pushed past 20 euros a ton and is forecast to rise more, resulting in power and gas becoming more costly.

Edison Electric Institute Launches ESG and Sustainability Reporting Template l Daily Energy Insider

  • The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) has launched its environmental, social, governance and sustainability-related (ESG/sustainability) reporting template to help its member electric companies provide more standardized ESG/sustainability information to investors and customers. Developed over the past two years by EEI-led stakeholder working groups, the template provides information in a uniform and consistent format for investors and customers to accurately assess progress on long-term ESG/sustainability issues leading to a low-carbon energy economy.

On Our Way to Lower Emissions and 100% Renewable Energy l Facebook

  • This week, Facebook committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75% and powering global operations with 100% renewable energy by the end of 2020. In a record-breaking year of corporate renewable energy purchases, Facebook is on track to be one of the largest corporate purchasers of renewable energy.

Exxon Seeks Wind, Solar Power Delivery in Texas l Bloomberg

  • Exxon Mobil has been looking to buy renewable energy for delivery in Texas, according to people familiar with the matter. The largest U.S. oil company sent out a request for proposals with a June 8 deadline, inviting solar or wind power suppliers to pitch contracts that would last 12, 15 or 20 years, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg and people with knowledge who asked not to be named discussing confidential matters.
 
Fossil Fuel Divestment

Norway Commission Recommends Against Oil Divestment l Chief Investment Officer

  • A commission appointed by the Norway government has recommended against the country’s $1.04 trillion Government Pension Fund Global divesting petroleum stocks, saying it wouldn’t do much to protect the fund against sell-off in oil, while at the same time complicating its investment strategy. “Divestment of the energy stocks in the Government Pension Fund Global is not an effective insurance against a permanent decline in oil prices,” commission chair Øystein Thøgersen said in a release. 
 
 
Calendar of Upcoming Events

Impact Investing Forum North l Opal Group, September 12-13, 2018, New York, NY

Global Climate Action Summit l Global Climate Action Summit, September 12-14, 2018, San Francisco, CA

Higher Education Leadership on Carbon Pricing Event l Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, September 13, 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

Total Impact Boston l Good Capital Project, October 4-5, 2018, Boston, MA

2018 Investing for Impact Symposium | High Water Women, October 17, 2018, New York, NY

Ethical Finance 2018 | Responsible Investor, UKIFC, Scottish Government, UNDP, and RBS, October 22-23, 2018, Edinburgh, Scotland

The 29th Annual SRI Conference l November 1-3, 2018, Colorado Springs, CO

Endowment & Foundation Forum 2018 l Opal Group, November 13, 2018

RI Americas l Responsible Investor, December 5-6, 2018

2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit | February 10-12, 2019, Tempe, AZ