Weekly News Round-Up: September 30th, 2016

New Resources

  • This document outlines potential questions for investment managers on their proxy voting and other shareholder engagement activities around ESG. To signal your endowment’s commitment to sustainability, your institution can share a list of questions, such as the one provided below, with both managers and advisors. Sharing your questions and interest in writing at the beginning of the dialogue will allow your managers and advisors an opportunity to prepare for an informed conversation on engagement. 
Investing in Equality: Integrating LGBT Issues into Total Portfolio Activation l Croatan Institute, Social Justice Fund Northwest, Out Leadership & Trillium Asset Management
  • The paper provides a framework to help impact investors expand the scope of investing in LGBT issues across asset classes. It is the first effort to structure a total portfolio approach thematically around LGBT equality. 
A Practical Guide to ESG Integration for Equity Investing l Principles for Responsible Investment
  • Integrating ESG factors into analysis of listed equity investments is the most widespread responsible investment practice in the market today. To guide investors – both asset owners and investment managers – who are implementing ESG integration techniques in their investment decisions and processes, this report is the most comprehensive description to date of what ESG-integrated analysis is, and how it works in practice.
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: The Role of Impact Investing l Global Impact Investing Network 
  • This report profiles impact investors that have leveraged the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for the following purposes: (1) as a framework to communicate their social impact goals; (2) to develop new or realign existing investment strategies and; (3) to attract capital from private investors that are new to impact investing.
 
 
Upcoming Events
 
The Intentionally Designed Endowment Forum at Loyola University Chicago l
November 1-2, 2016
  • Loyola University Chicago and the Intentional Endowments Network are pleased to host this forum to bring together selected decision-makers from colleges, universities, and foundations, including presidents, trustees, CFOs, CIOs, and other key stakeholders to advance the conversation on endowment investing in the context of 21st century sustainability challenges. Hank Paulson, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury will be speaking at this event, as will David Blood, co-founder and Senior Partner of Generation Investment Management and many other leading experts in the sustainable investing field.
PRI Economic Income Inequality Round Table Event l October 11, 2016, New York, NY
  • Priya Mathur, Chair of CalPERS Board of Administration as well as David Woods from Harvard Universitywill be leading a discussion on how the investment community can address the issues of economic inequality and how it presents a material risk for investors.
IEN WEBINAR: Transitioning to Integrating Investment Practices with Program Mission | October 19, 2016, 1:00-2:00pm EST 
  • This webinar will provide an overview of processes used by the Heron Foundation and Hampshire College to develop investment policies and implement management practices that align investments with their respective institutional missions and include discussions on fiduciary duty. Speakers: Clara Miller,President, Heron Foundation; David Dinerman, Trustee, Hampshire College; Keith Johnson, Chair, Institutional Investor Services Group, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.
 
 
General Higher Ed Sustainability News
 
A Higher Calling for Higher Education l Great Transition Initiative
  • Education and knowledge resources are more available today than ever before. However, humanity’s two main conflicts—coexistence with nature and coexistence with each other—remain unresolved. We need a new conception of human progress that recognizes the interdependence of the economic, social, political, and environmental spheres. To achieve this goal in theory and in practice, higher education institutions, now mainstays of the prevailing economic system, must become agents of progressive social change. This requires rethinking the mission and practice of higher education, from curricula to research, as well as how higher education institutions interact with society, from the local to the global level.
Towards a Sustainable University l Great Transition Initiative
  • Transformative change in higher education is needed in order to provide the knowledge and critical abilities an educated citizenry needs as the foundation for the transition to a thriving, just, and sustainable society. The transition requires that higher education leaders and faculty recognize that the scope, scale, and speed of the unprecedented global challenge we face demand an unprecedented level of self-reflection and collaboration. The creation of a healthy, just, and sustainable society must become a strategic imperative, not simply a hoped-for byproduct of fragmented academic or operational programs. 
 
 
ESG, Sustainable, Impact Investing
 
  • Unilever's deal for natural products maker Seventh Generation Inc. last week is part of a growing trend. Acquisitions of sustainable products companies represented almost 7% of consumer deals this year. ALSO INSIDE: Morgan Stanley finds gender diverse stocks are less volatile; Companies' internal carbon pricing plans; Investors call for repeal of North Carolina's bathroom bill
SOCAP16 and the Continued Evolution of Impact Investing l Non-Profit Quarterly
  • This article summarized the September SOCAP16 meeting (Social Capital Markets), an annual gathering in San Francisco started in 2008 by a small group of investors focused on promoting a double bottom line—social and financial. The growth of the impact investment field is discussed, and main points of keynote speakers are highlighted.

Q&A: A venture Capitalist’s View on the Clean-Tech Economy l Midwest Energy News

  • Nancy Pfund and the venture capital firm she founded, DBL Venture Partners, take a different approach than many of her peers. When she and her colleagues decide whether to invest in a firm, they look not only at the underlying market conditions, but whether the company might change the world in a positive way. The firm is especially interested in clean technology and sustainable products and services, ranging from investments in solar supply-chain producers to storage companies. Pfund recently spoke with Midwest Energy News about impact investing and the role venture capitalists and their clients can play in driving a clean energy economy.
 
 
Climate Risk, Science & Regulation
 
A New Debate Over Pricing the Risks of Climate Change l The New York Times
  • Federal regulators are considering requiring some companies to predict the economic impacts of climate change and release hard numbers to their investors on how these impacts will effect the value of their product. An amendment to an appropriations bill by Florida Representative Bill Posey to prevent such a move by the federal government has been picked up in the Senate version of the legislation. The Posey amendment would allow the oil industry to continue to not disclose how carbon risk will affect the economic value of its oil reserves, and would also affect other industries, for example, the amendment would allow food companies to leave the impact of future water shortages unaddressed.
  • According to a report recently published by Bloomberg, Exxon Mobil Corporation is contemplating the divestment of some oil fields in Norway's North Sea. Reportedly, the sale could generate more than $1 billion.   Exxon's intention to divest the Norwegian assets is in line with the decision of other energy majors like Royal Dutch Shell to exit the North Sea.
  • According to this report, the United States' current intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) are insufficient to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting temperature change to between 1.5 and 2.0◦C above pre-industrial levels. This report assess the likely range of US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2025 and whether the US’s INDC can be met, on the basis of updated historical and projected estimates.
Mark Campanale speaking at Goshen College | the Record
  • On Sunday, Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m., Mark Campanale will be presenting the lecture “Climate at the Crossroads: The Investor Role in Achieving a Low-Carbon Future” at Goshen College. The event is sponsored by Goshen College, Everence, and the Mennonite Education Association. Campanale is the founder and executive director of Carbon Tracker Initiative, which is a not-for-profit financial think tank that explores how the effects of climate change intersect with the trajectory of capital markets.
 
 
Fossil Fuel Divestment
  • King’s College London has endorsed a plan that would sink millions of its £179m endowment into clean energy, and drop investments in the most polluting fossil fuels.The new investment policy will end the endowment fund’s exposure to tar sands and thermal coal, and channel 15% of its £175m into greener alternatives.
The Trustees Voted Against Divestment, But Fossil Free Penn is Planning to Fight On l The Daily Pennsylvanian
  • Last week, the University of Pennsylvania's Board of Trustees announced that UPenn will not divest from fossil fuel industries, despite two years of campaigning from Fossil Free Penn. The decision came after the unanimous recommendation of an Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Divestment, which was formed in March to consider the divestment proposal submitted by Fossil Free Penn in November 2015, not to divest. “The really important thing right now is that this is far from over,” College sophomore and Fossil Free Penn member Zach Rissman said, in response to the decision.
  • Divestment has become one of the principal vehicles through which student voice permeates boardrooms and executive offices. This article chronicles how students at several universities including Stanford, Harvard and Northeastern, find the power, passion, and courage to continue the climate fight after their University's administration rejects fossil fuel divestment.
Waltham Forest Pension Fund to Divest Fossil Fuel Investments l Pensions & Investments
  • London Borough of Waltham Forest Pension Fund will divest from fossil-fuel investments over the next five years. The £735 million ($955 million) pension fund had 2.2% of its investments exposed to fossil fuels as of March 31, said Councilor Simon Miller, chairman of the pension fund committee, in an e-mail. “A decision to divest from fossil fuels is therefore neither radical or in any way inconsistent with our wider investment strategy.”
 
 
Investment Manager / Product News 
 
Green Century launches first diversified and responsible fossil fuel free international index fund | Green Century
  • The International Fund is the very first diversified and responsible, fossil fuel free international index fund available to U.S. investors. Like all the Green Century Funds, the International Fund avoids other environmentally dangerous industries, including GMOs (genetically modified organisms), weapons, and tobacco. The Fund invests in companies in developed market countries, including Germany, Japan, and Australia, with outstanding environmental, social, and governance characteristics.
  • Etho Capital and Future Super recently announced an agreement to launch a global sustainability index. Etho Capital will create the Global Sustainability Leadership Index composed of 100 of the world's most sustainable and efficient companies that are leaders in their sectors. The Global Sustainability Leadership Index will exclude companies closely linked to the extraction, processing and distribution of fossil fuels.