Weekly News Round-Up: September 14th, 2018

Weekly News Round-Up: September 14th, 2018

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

There are a lot of exciting new announcements, commitments and resources coming out of the big climate and responsible investing events in San Francisco this week. Georges and Tony are there connecting with many IEN members and report that the there is a great sense of both optimism around accelerating climate solutions, and urgent concern as climate impacts intensify -- as exemplified by the threat of Hurricane Florence this week. Our thoughts and best wishes go to those impacted by the storm. 

Thank you for engagement with this important work. 

Have a great weekend,


As a reminder, starting in October, full access to this round-up will become a members-only resource. Reference this message when joining IEN this month to receive 20% off your first year of membership dues. Learn more


Nicole Harman 
Program Manager, The Intentional Endowments Network

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New Initiatives

The Investor Agenda: 400 Investors With $32 trillion in Assets Step up Climate Action l Financial Express

  • The Investor Agenda, launched this week, will support investors in accelerating and scaling-up the actions that are critical to tackling climate change and achieving the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. Its launch also demonstrates the significant momentum already evident, with 392 investors with $32 trillion in assets collectively under management, using The Investor Agenda to highlight climate action they are already taking and making new commitments.
  • The Luxemburg Green Exchange (LGX) joins the U.S. State Treasurers of California, New Mexico and Rhode Island, the Cities of Asheville and San Francisco – California, King County – Washington, Australian pension fund Local Government Super (LGS) and financial firms Global New Energy Finance and R3 Returns, as founding signatories to the Green Bond Pledge. Launched earlier this year, the Green Bond Pledge is a declaration that all bonds financing long-term infrastructure and capital projects need to address environmental impacts and climate risk. 

C40 Divest/Invest Forum Launched to Encourage Fossil Fuel Divestment l Intelligent Transport

  • As major cities around the world make pledges to abandon millions in fossil fuel stocks and bonds, C40 Cities, in partnership with London and New York City, have launched the C40 Divest/Invest Forum, a first-of-its-kind initiative to help urban leaders make the leap to effective and efficient divestment and accelerate green investment. The C40 Divest/Invest Forum is based on C40’s model of peer-to-peer learning and will connect cities inside and outside the C40 network, enabling leaders to share best practices, knowledge and tools proven to accelerate divestment.
New Resources and Reports

Fossil Fuel Divestment Funds Rise to $6tn l The Guardian

  • The funds committed to fossil fuel divestment now total more than $6tn, with almost 1,000 institutional investors having made the pledge, according to a new report. The sell-off of coal, oil and gas investments is led by the insurance industry, with $3tn of funds. But it also now includes the first nation to divest, Ireland, major cities including New York and key medical organizations. Major oil companies such as Shell have this year cited divestment as a material risk to its business.

2020: A Clear Vision For Paris Compliant Shareholder Engagement l As You Sow

  • This report highlights the fact that the rise in global greenhouse gas emissions, and oil & gas company capital expenditures on exploration and production, signals a fundamental limitation of the current shareholder engagement strategy. Shareholders must grapple head-on with the implications of an oil & gas business model that continues to invest unabated in products which, when used, run counter to science-based targets and the Paris Agreement.

Sustainable Financing and ESG Investing Report l EuroMoney

  • In its latest report, the Global Sustainable Investment Association said that global assets under management incorporating ESG had risen 25% over the previous two years. They also estimated that 30% of investable assets globally – or over $20 trillion – included sustainability in their investment analysis according to their 2016 Global Sustainable Investment Review.

Results Announced for 2018 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices Review l Business Insider

  • S&P Dow Jones Indices, one of the world's leading index providers, and RobecoSAM, the investment specialist that has focused exclusively on Sustainability Investing for over 23 years, today announced the results of the annual Dow Jones Sustainability Indices review. The three largest additions and deletions (by free-float market capitalization) to the DJSI World this year include: Additions: Salesforce.com, Schlumberger Ltd, Diageo PLC ; Deletions: Samsung Electronics Co, Bayer AG, Commonwealth Bank Australia.

Internal Carbon Pricing in Higher Education Toolkit l Second Nature

  • Colleges and universities are important leaders in preventing the worst impacts of climate change. Pricing carbon is one instrument schools can use to advance climate solutions. This toolkit provides recommendations, examples, and tools to guide schools through the process of exploring, designing, and implementing a carbon price on campus.

ESG Integration in the Americas: Markets, Practices, and Data l CFA Institute & PRI

  • This report is intended to help investors better understand how professional investors are integrating ESG factors into their analyses and investment processes. This understanding, in turn, can help investors determine how to integrate ESG analysis into their own investment processes, and how to do so in a manner that makes sense for them.
Sustainable Investing at Endowments, Foundations & Pensions

19 More Catholic Institutions Announce Fossil Fuel Divestment l Sight

  • A group of 19 Catholic organizations have announced a commitment to divest from fossil fuels, taking to more than 120 the number of Catholic institutions which have done so worldwide.

NYC Pension Funds to Double Green Investments l Wall Street Journal

  • New York City will invest $4 billion of its pension funds into climate-change solutions like renewable energy and clean water over the next three years, more than doubling its current investment, according to city officials. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Comptroller Scott Stringer, who oversees the city’s more than $195 billion pension fund, are set to announce the reinvestment plan on Thursday.

Australian Communities Foundation Divests $90 Million From Fossil Fuels l ProBono

  • Australian Communities Foundation has transitioned its portfolio to an ethical investment approach over the past three years, and on Wednesday pledged to fully divest from fossil fuel investments.  ACF CEO Maree Sidey told Pro Bono News the change was driven by their donors. “We made that move because our donors have very strong values around social justice and taking a sustainable approach to the environment,” Sidey said.
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Most Investors Are Going Green to Make Money, HSBC Says l Bloomberg

  • Financial returns were cited as the biggest reason to have a strategy focused on the environment, social issues and governance, known as ESG, according to a survey of 868 institutional investors by the U.K.’s largest bank, HSBC Holdings Plc. Nearly three quarters of companies with this focus said that this was their number one driver, followed by tax incentives.

Impact Investing: Advisors Need To Build The Case For Imagining Big Capital l Forbes

  • This article aims to reframe and consider how impact investing--in its many forms--can deliver competitive, if not enhanced returns, for the savvy institutional investor.

A Fixed-Income Investor's Guide to Impact Investing l CNBC

  • This article highlights how the first step for impact investors is to think about issues or causes important to them so that they can craft an investment strategy in line with their values. There's significant research that shows sustainable investing doesn't mean sacrificing returns. Last year 85% of companies published a sustainability or corporate responsibility report — up from just 20% of companies who did so in 2011.

Ethical Investing, Nike and the NFL l Aljazeera

  • This article highlights how, as big brands continue their push to expand global markets, companies like Nike are tailoring their ads to themes of ethics and corporate and social responsibility. Nike's most recent "Just Do It" campaign features a close-up of the NFL quarterback and activist, Colin Kaepernick, known for his refusal to stand for the American national anthem before the start of a handful of NFL games in 2016, and what such campaigns mean for the SRI field.

The Financial Sector Can Do More To Tackle Climate Change. It's Time To Step Up l Forbes

  • In the fight against climate change, the focus is mostly – and rightly – on heavy emitters of greenhouse gases. But none of these sectors can operate without financial backing, and investors and other parts of the financial services sector are taking action, too – with consequences that are starting to be felt in high-carbon sectors and companies.

Newsweek Vantage Report Concludes That Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Investing Is Going Mainstream l Cision

  • Newsweek Media Group, the family of digital-first media brands that start and shape global conversations that matter, today released the results of a new report from their Vantage Thought Leadership division investigating the rise of ESG investing. The study finds that while the Paris Climate Accord, and the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 have boosted growth in ESG investing, with three out of four investors now taking account of ESG information in the investment process, ESG has clearly become mainstream.

Fiduciary Duty & Financial Performance

Socially Responsible Investing Gets a Boost From the U.K. l Barron's

  • The United Kingdom government will update its definition of fiduciary duty to include “ESG considerations including climate change.". The Department for Work and Pensions announced new regulations that will force trustees to reveal information about how they weigh up ethical issues and social responsibility when investing. The change came after a public consultation with organizations include the British Airways Pensions, the BT Pension Scheme, the London Stock Exchange, and others, according to the website.

Worlds Largest Public Pensions in Breach on Climate Change l Actuarial Post

  • A handful of public pension funds, mostly based in Europe, are showing true leadership on climate change, demonstrating robust approaches to aligning their investments with the low-carbon transition. However, over 60 per cent of pension funds have little or no strategy on climate change, according to a new global assessment of the sector. 

Does Sustainable Investing Bring Weaker Returns? l Money Marketing

  • This article discusses several thriving industries that present a huge buying opportunity and should not be missed because of the myth around responsible investments equalling lesser returns than traditional ones.

High ESG Standards Mean Higher Profits l Business World

  • This article explores how the recent upsurge in ESG investment is partly because investors increasingly demand that companies behave ethically and govern themselves well.

Green Bonds

Can Booming Green Bonds Finance Sustainable Cities? l EDF Business

  • This article highlights a renewed examination of the relationship between environmental advocacy organizations, investors, and the fixed income space.

Sustainable Development Goals

Norway SWF: Governments Could Help Realize Sustainable Development Goals l Investments & Pensions Europe

  • This article highlights a recent report written by the firm which runs the Norway Government Pension Fund Global titled “Achieving the SDGs, in both developed and developing countries, could contribute to the long-term return of the fund through increased economic resilience.” This paper argues that governments should consider action to foster more private-sector investment in support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
General Higher Education Endowment & Sustainability News

Top Research Universities Expand the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) l Second Nature

  • Second Nature is pleased to announce that Boston University, the University of Connecticut, the University of South Florida, and Washington University in St. Louis have joined the thirteen other leading research universities that comprise the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3). UC3 is a new network of research institutions from across North America committed to leveraging their institutional strengths to foster a robust exchange of best practices and research agenda in pursuit of accelerating local climate solutions.

Dartmouth Endowment Posts 12.2% Fiscal-Year Return l Pensions & Investments

  • Dartmouth College's endowment returned a net 12.2% for the fiscal year ended June 30, the Hanover, N.H.-based university announced in a news release on Thursday. The endowment ended the fiscal year with $5.5 billion in assets. The news release said the endowment had $591 million in net investment gains, plus $183 million in gifts and other net transfers during the fiscal year.
Climate Risk, Science, Regulation & Clean Energy

California Ups Its Clean Energy Game: Gov. Brown Signs 100% Zero-Carbon Electricity Bill l Inside Climate News

  • California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Monday to shift the state to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045. He also issued an executive order establishing a target for the state to become carbon neutral by the same year. The legislation is one of the crowning environmental achievements of Brown's administration, which ends in January, and comes on the cusp of a Global Climate Action Summit that was hosted in San Francisco beginning on Sept.12.

UN: Private Pledges Aren't Enough to Significantly Curb Carbon Emissions l UPI

  • As revealed by the UN Environment's latest emissions gap report, most national governments, including the United States government, continue to come up short on their commitments to improve climate policy. In order to limit global warming to 2 degrees, UN scientists estimate global emissions totals must be reduced by between 11 and 13.5 gigatons by 2030.

Norway Seeks to Offset Its Pollution 12 Years Before Needed l Bloomberg

  • Norway is seeking to buy credits to offset its fossil-fuel emissions more than a decade before it needs them to meet pollution goals for 2030, according to government officials overseeing the program. The move is an early indication of support from a major industrial country for an effort by the United Nations to revive a global carbon market that once turned over $33 billion in a year.

Opinion: The Next Financial Crisis Lurks Underground l The New York Times

  • This article, written by Bethany McLean, whose book about Enron was turned into an Oscar-nominated documentary, discusses how, fueled by debt and years of easy credit, America’s energy boom is on shaky footing.

These Are the Markets in Hurricane Florence’s Path l Bloomberg

  • The punch packed by Hurricane Florence is already rattling markets from stocks to bonds. The massive storm -- which is forcing more than 1 million people to flee and could wreak as much as $27 billion in damages as it cuts a path through the states of Georgia and the Carolinas -- has struck insurance companies’ shares and funds holding catastrophe bonds as investors try to get ahead of the potential disaster.

Why a 'New Energy Order' is Threatening Shareholder Returns For Oil Companies l CBNC

  • Under pressure from consumers and governments to transition to greener energy sources, oil majors will have to increase spending on new energies, thereby risking losses in shareholder returns. J.P. Morgan's proprietary ESG model suggests reducing the carbon footprint will require "significantly more investment, quicker than many realize." Fossil fuels divestments now total an eye-popping $6 trillion, with nearly 1,000 institutional investors having pledged to divest from coal, oil and gas.

PRI Leader Calls on Institutional Investors to Take Climate Change Action l Chief Investment Officer

  • Fiona Reynolds, CEO of Principles for Responsible Investment, called Wednesday for institutional investors and governments to step up action on climate change or risk government action and unstable markets.
Investment Firm News

Arabesque and Eagle Investment Systems Announce Strategic Alliance to Enhance Sustainability Analysis for Investors l Market Investor

  • Arabesque S-Ray®, a leading data source for ESG metrics, and Eagle Investment Systems LLC, a BNY Mellon company, announced this week a strategic alliance that will enable Eagle clients to access and incorporate Arabesque S-Ray® sustainability data into their own investment platforms. 

UBS and World Bank Extend Partnership with Groundbreaking Notes to Help Finance Sustainable Development Efforts l Business Wire

  • UBS announced this week an offering for innovative notes issued by the World Bank's International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) that will support IBRD's sustainable development activities. The note will, for the first time, link to The Global Sustainability Signatories Index, which provides exposure to up to 100 UN Global Compact Signatories selected according to their ESG ratings from Sustainalytics. 

MSCI Completes the Integration of ESG in All Its Risk Analytics Systems l Business Wire

  • MSCI, a leading provider of research-based indexes, ratings and analytics, announced this week their next step toward advancing ESG integration into the investment management process by delivering ESG solutions across its suite of risk and portfolio analytics systems.

Morgan Stanley Exceeds 5-Year Impact Investing Asset Goal l Business Wire

  • Morgan Stanley is pleased to announce that its Investing with Impact Platform (IIP) has more than doubled its $10 billion asset goal in sustainable and impact investing. Today, the IIP has more than $25 billion in client assets under management across 120+ third party separately managed accounts, mutual funds, ETFs, alternatives and accounts with custom mandates dedicated to sustainable and impact investing.

Why We Think ESG Is a Bedrock Investment Issue l Iris

  • This article explores how ESG factors have been and are important to any holistic understanding of a business. In some ways, they are the most foundational or bedrock investment issues, and we have found in our own strategies that good ESG practices at companies can be additive to investment performance. The reason is quite straightforward: ESG characteristics matter in a very real economic sense.

Impact Shares Sustainable Development Goals Global Equity ETF l SEC

  • The Impact Shares Sustainable Development Goals Global Equity ETF seeks investment results that, before fees and expenses, track the performance of the Morningstar Societal Development Index, and is expected to start trading September 24th.

Partners Group to lead delivery of 226MW Wind Farm Project in Australia l Partners Group

  • Partners Group, the global private markets investment manager, has agreed on behalf of its clients to invest over AUD 200 million in equity to acquire and construct the first stage of Murra Warra Wind Farm (Murra Warra I) in Australia. The 226MW wind farm is being acquired from Renewable Energy Systems (RES) and Macquarie Capital, which jointly developed the project.

Richmond Global Compass Capital Global Multi-Asset ESG Fund Is Now Open to Outside Investors l Cision

  • Richmond Global Compass Capital, LP, the first-ever sustainability focused global multi-asset fund employing machine learning to extract material metrics in Environment, Social, and Governance, is now officially open to outside investment. Compass' general partners have invested over $20 million as part of the fund's seed capital and seek to raise $500 million.
Fossil Fuel & Private Prison Divestment

As New York and London Mayors, We Call on All Cities to Divest From Fossil Fuels l The Guardian

  • In this joint piece, Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, and Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, urge the world’s urban centers to send a message to the fossil fuel industry by divesting from fossil fuels.

Fossil Fuel Divestment Debates on Campus Spotlight Societal Role of Colleges and Universities l EcoWatch

  • This article discusses how, due to higher education's core mission to generate knowledge, educate citizens and leaders, and address pressing social issues, colleges and universities have a unique role to play in the fossil fuel divestment debate.

UNC Asheville Divest Campaign to Present at Global Climate Action Summit Event l The Blue Banner

  • Students from UNC Asheville will represent UNCA Divest, a student organization dedicated to divesting the university from fossil fuels, at the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. The summit will host an array of climate change and environmental related events, including an affiliate event called The Divest/Invest State of the Movement press conference.

Donegal TD to Speak at International Conference on Ireland's Successful Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill l Donegal Now

  • Donegal TD Thomas Pringle will be speaking at an international conference in San Francisco on his successful Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill which makes Ireland the first country in the world to divest public money from fossil fuel companies.

As Trans Mountain Sits in Limbo, Will More People Divest From Fossil Fuels? l The Star

  • This article discusses how, two weeks after the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, some economists say the risks of the oil and gas sector may begin to outweigh the rewards in the eyes of investors.

Coal Divestment Pressure Shifts to US Insurers l Business Insurance

  • A campaign to pressure U.S. insurers to divest from fossil fuel underwriting and investments is being launched, with a major insurtech company becoming the first U.S. sector player to publicly commit to such actions. The Insure Our Future campaign, part of the global Unfriend Coal campaign that has experienced some success in pressuring European insurers and reinsurers to restrain their coal underwriting and investment, now aims to pressure the U.S. insurance industry to stop insuring and investing in coal and tar sands projects and companies.

Taking Stock of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement l Non-Profit Quarterly

  • It’s been six years since activist Bill McKibben called for institutions to divest assets from fossil fuel companies, declaring in Rolling Stone that fossil fuel companies were “Public Enemy Number One to the survival of our planetary civilization.” Writing in The ConversationJennie Stephens, Director of the School of Public Policy at Northeastern University, takes stock of the movement as it turns six.

SU Won’t Make a Public Commitment to Divest From Private Prisons l The Daily Orange

  • Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud announced last week that SU won’t make a public commitment to not invest in private correctional facilities despite calls from the University Senate, Student Association and Graduate Student Organization.
Calendar of Upcoming Events

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 Foundation Leadership Forum l AGB, January 27-29, 2019, Fort Lauderdale, FL

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

2019 Endowment and Debt Management Forum l NACUBO, February 13-15, 2019, New York, NY




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