Weekly News Round-Up: August 3rd, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: August 3rd, 2018

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

Over the past four years, IEN has experienced exciting growth in our team, events, webinars, peer networking opportunities, and other activities to support intentionally designed endowments. This would not be possible without the essential support of Contributing MembersAs we work to continue to grow the Network and engage more endowment stakeholders, member support is more important than ever.  

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

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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IEN in the News

Leadership at Forefront of 2018 Appalachian Energy Summit l Appalachian Today

  • This article discusses this week's Appalachian Energy Summit, which took place at Appalachian State University, and where IEN held a plenary panel and workshop on endowment investing. At its core, the summit was created to support all UNC System campuses in being more sustainable, reduce the System’s energy costs and jumpstart a national transformative effort across energy policies and practices in higher education.

Divestment Stories: Durham and Trinity College Dublin l NUS

  • This article highlights the main points in last month's IEN webinar of fossil fuel divestment in the UK featuring speakers from Trinity College Dublin and Durham University.
 
Sustainable Investing at Endowments & Pensions

Royal College of GPs to Divest From Fossil Fuels l Climate Action Programe

  • The UK’s professional body for GPs is to divest its holdings in fossil fuel companies. The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) made the decision last month at a meeting of the body’s Trustee Board. The RCGP is the UK’s largest medical royal college, representing over 52,000 members active as doctors and physicians across the country.

CalPERS on the Hunt for Renewable Investments l Chief Investment Officer

  • The new investment sustainability director for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is bullish on renewable energy power generation, signaling in comments that the largest US pension plan is continuing to look at expanding such investments.

Opinion: More Cities and States Should Divest From Private Prisons l The New York Times

  • In this opinion piece, Scott Stringer, the comptroller of New York City, and Javier Valdés, a community organizer, outline how pension funds have a fiduciary duty to make sound investments that grow their portfolios and help fund retirement benefits for their members. That means constantly evaluating the long-term viability and risk of investments across the pension funds’ portfolios, and this article argues how private prisons fail that basic risk assessment.
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Winners of the 2018 Investment for Impact Research Prize l Berkeley Haas

  • This article discusses the work of Christopher Geczy, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Jessica S. Jeffers, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, David K. Musto, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Anne M. Tucker, Georgia State University College of Law for their paper “Contracts with Benefits: The Implementation of Impact Investing”.

A Timely Facebook Exit Has One Nordea Money Manager Cheering l Bloomberg

  • This article builds off of a tweet shared by Sasja Beslik, the head of sustainable investing at Nordea Bank, highlighting how ESG analysis factored into the Bank's decision to sell Facebook Inc. stock.

A Tech-Heavy ESG ETF That Didn’t Fall with Facebook l Wealth Management

  • This article highlights one example of how indexes based on ESG factors can hold an edge over the broader market, sighting how the TIAA ESG USA Large-Cap Growth Index, which allocates nearly 35% of its weight to technology sectors, owns no Facebook stock, having screened out the company based on an ESG analysis focused on data privacy policies.

Lack of Market ‘Plumbing’ Holds Back Sustainable Investing l Financial Times

  • This article explores howWe need standards, benchmarks and derivatives are needed to make this sustainable investing sector take off.

How Investors Are Abolishing ICE — in Their Portfolios l MarketWatch

  • This article highlights how many retirement savers and investors opposed to the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border are pulling their money out of the companies that help U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement carry out its mission.

The Rise of ESG & Sustainable Governance in Blockchain l NASDAQ

  • This article highlights the growing trend among Millennial investors-- a greater focus on verifiable and robust ESG practices by the companies they invest in. 

Ratings That Don't Rate: The Subjective World of ESG Rating Agencies l Real Clear Policy

  • According to this article, ESG ratings, on which investors increasingly rely, are flawed. They lack standardization and disclosure requirements as well as suffer from company size, geographic, and industry biases. To be a more useful and accurate guide for investors, ESG rating agencies must standardize analyses of disclosed information, adjust for biases, increase transparency, and disclose their success rates.

18 Impact Investing Trends You Haven't Seen Before And 1 You Have l Forbes

  • This article highlights 19 trends in the impact investing world that are most likely unknown to you, because they are developing in pockets and corners of the arena where most people don’t have visibility. 
 
General Higher Education Endowment News

UTIMCO Eyes New Asset Allocation That Boosts Infrastructure, Public and Private Equity l Pensions & Investments

  • The University of Texas/Texas A&M Investment Management Co., Austin, will implement a new strategic asset allocation for the systems' endowment funds on Sept. 1, the beginning of UTIMCO's new fiscal year, pending approval of the regents of the UT system. UTIMCO's board of directors on July 26 endorsed the recommended changes from investment staff to increase target allocations to global equity, stable value and illiquid investments, and decrease real return and alternatives exposure.
 
Investment Firm News

UBS Asset Management's Harford Says She's Changed Her Mind on ESG Investing l CNBC

  • UBS Asset Management's Suni Harford said she's changed her mind on ESG when it comes to managing money. "But I'm in a different seat now and it's a very different world. We now have data and technology that facilitates a really robust change to the investment process," Harford said. Harford who spent 24 years as Citi's global head of fixed-income strategy, has led UBS Asset Management since July 2017.

Swell Investing Is Making It Easy And Affordable To Invest In Diversity And Impact l Forbes

  • Swell Investing has launched a way for investors to capitalize on the diversity advantage for as little as $50. The Impact 400 is a portfolio allowing people to invest in companies that not only have diverse leadership, but that are achieving social and environmental impact. The new equity portfolio expands the Santa Monica startup's mission to make impact investing more accessible.

Investors Commit to Tackle Deforestation in Brazil's Cerrado Savanna l edie

  • This week, a string of big-name investment corporations including Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM), APG and Robeco have pledged to act to prevent deforestation in Brazil's tropical savanna.
 
Climate Risk, Science, Regulation & Clean Energy

Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change l New York Times Magazine

  • This narrative by Nathaniel Rich is a work of history, addressing the 10-year period from 1979 to 1989: the decisive decade when humankind first came to a broad understanding of the causes and dangers of climate change. With support from the Pulitzer Center, this two-part article is based on 18 months of reporting and well over a hundred interviews. It tracks the efforts of a small group of American scientists, activists and politicians to raise the alarm and stave off catastrophe.

The Problem With The New York Times’ Big Story on Climate Change l The Atlantic

  • This article argues that the history of just about every major American political issue is contested; and it’s not surprising that climate change should be the same. According to the author, any sensible narrative of climate politics has to start and finish with the idea that opposition to climate policy grew in parallel with the scientific case for action, and telling the wrong story makes the case for action looks easier than it is.

Clean Energy is Getting Really, Really Cheap l Climate Connections

  • This article highlights how, as demand for clean energy grows, costs are falling fast.

Investors in Renewable Energy, Regulators Chart a Way Forward in Risk Management l This Day Live

  • This article discusses what critical stakeholders and regulators in the nation’s renewable energy sector have agreed on what is possible about removing obstacles to investing in on and off-grid Renewable Energy electricity generation.

Letter From Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy  to Scott Pruitt l Ceres

  • In this letter, major U.S. corporations with combined annual revenues topping $400 billion have asked the Trump administration to keep the current vehicle fuel economy and emissions standards in place.

Opinion: As Banks and Investors Reject Arctic Drilling, Where is Wells Fargo? l Common Dreams

  • This letter from The Sierra Club  discusses how, in the United States and around the world, the movement demanding divestment from fossil fuel projects that threaten our climate and communities is gaining momentum. Institutions including insurerschurchesuniversities, and major cities have made recent commitments to divest from fossil fuels, and Ireland recently became the first country to commit to sell off all its fossil fuel assets.

Trends: Auto­mo­bile Indus­try & the Elec­tric Vehi­cle Revolution l Medium

  • This is the first in a series of occa­sional briefings from the investment team at Zevin Asset Management discussing the trans­for­ma­tive, long- term (sec­u­lar) themes that they exam­ine as part of our invest­ment process. A sec­u­lar theme typ­i­cally starts as a sub­tle change within a mar­ket that grad­u­ally gains momen­tum and plays out over an extended period of time, per­haps decades (think ecom­merce, mobile com­put­ing, and clean energy).

 

Fossil Fuel Divestment

Council’s Divestment Decision Has Been Formally Challenged – Can it Evade Democratic Scrutiny? l The Varsity

  • Cambridge Unversity's student group, Cambridge Zero Carbon, announced yesterday it had requested a formal review of University Council’s decision against fossil fuel divestment, claiming that Council’s failure to submit a ‘capital-R’ Report to Regent House – the University’s primary governing body – to allow for discussion among members was unconstitutional, and that it stifled democratic debate.
 
 
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

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