Weekly News Round-Up: September 7th, 2018

 
Weekly News Round-Up: September 7th, 2018

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

As a reminder, starting in October, full access to this round-up will become a members-only resource. During the month of September, reference this message when joining IEN to receive 20% off your first year of membership dues. Learn more about the membership rates and benefits on our website.

Georges and Tony will be in San Francisco for the GCAS next week, please join them for the Higher Education Leadership on Carbon Pricing Event on Thursday, September 13, if you are in town.

Finally, please join our webinar on Green Bonds taking place on September 12, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. ET.

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 Strategic Investor Initiative Reorienting Capital Markets Toward the Long-Term l CECP

  • CECP is a CEO-led organization that works with over 200 of the world’s leading companies to advance business as a Force for Good in society. This white paper discusses long-term value creation, how to reduce short-term pressures, and the time horizon, metrics, and focus needed to make long-term plans.

New Report Disproves Financial Argument Against Divestment l Global News Wire

  • Genus Capital today released a report on its five-year fossil free investment data, entitled 2018 Divestment Report. The returns of Genus Capital’s Fossil Free CanGlobe Equity Fund, detailed in the report, show investors who divested from fossil fuels from May 2013 to July 2018 did not sacrifice returns, instead yielding financial benefits without contributing to climate change. The fund outperformed the returns of its benchmark* and the overall Canadian stock market index, both of which include coal and major carbon-producing industries.

The Race of Our Lives Revisited l GMO

  • This white paper, written by Jeremy Grantham, highlights the current state of climate change, how it relates to investment risk and opportunity, and what the ultimate ramifications will be if more leadership does not emerge in the space.
 
Sign-On Opportunities

SEC Petition Seeking Consistent ESG Disclosure Framework Regarding Material Company Long-Term Risks and Performance Factors - Deadline of September 10th

  • Potential participants are invited to sign by contacting Rachel Curley at Public Citizen by September 10th, 2018 at rcurley@citizen.org.
 
Sustainable Investing by Endowments and Other Institutional Investors

Learning by Doing: Lessons from WRI’s Sustainable Investing Journey l World Resources Institute

  • This case study details the World Resources Institute journey toward sustainable investing, which started in 2014 when the WRI board committed to align the $40 million endowment's investments with WRI's vision for a sustainable future. Since then, WRI has set out to systematically integrate sustainability across their entire endowment portfolio as part of their long-term investment strategy.

Sustainable Investment Not Core Investment Consideration for Institutional Investors l Institutional Asset Manager

  • Investing sustainably remains a minor factor in the investment decision-making process despite institutional investors’ expectations it will grow in importance, according to Schroders' Institutional Investor Study 2018. The study – which surveyed 650 investors encompassing approximately USD24 trillion in assets – has identified a mismatch between institutions’ perceptions of the importance of sustainability and what is still happening at the coalface of their investment process.  
 
Sustainable, Responsible, Impact & ESG Investing

Want To Tackle Global Challenges? Think -- And Invest -- Differently l Forbes

  • This article highlights how impact investing is reshaping financial markets. Hundreds of billions of investment dollars now focus on social and environment challenges. Philanthropies have increased impact investing to address issues like climate change, and private equity firms like TPGBain and KKR have created impact funds. While there is a long way still to close the estimated $2.4 trillion annual funding gap to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the tide is turning.

The New Capitalism: Has Wealth Found a New Conscience? l Spear's

  • The author of this article interviews London’s wealth management firms to ask if capitalism and the investment decisions underpinning it are changing.

ESG Investing Rarely Underperforms the Market, Study Finds  l Lexology

  • A recent report by Axioma, provider of enterprise market risk and portfolio analytics solutions, found that companies with better ESH standards “…often outperform the market” and exceed their financial benchmarks. The report also found that investment portfolios with high-scoring ESG companies outperformed their benchmarks by between 81 to 243 basis points over a four-year period (between 2014-2018).

How the Dominant Business Paradigm Turns Nice People into Psychopaths l Naked Capitalism

  • This article was adapted from The Shareholder Value Myth: How Putting Shareholders First Harms Investors, Corporations, and the Public, by Lynn Stout, Distinguished Professor of Corporate and Business Law at Cornell Law School.

UK's Ethical Investment Market to Reach £48bn by 2027 l edie.net

  • An increased focus on sustainability within the UK's investment community will result in the national socially responsible investing (SRI) market growing by 173% by 2027 to reach £48bn. That is the key finding of a new survey from sustainable investment firm Triodos Bank, which recently asked 2,020 UK investors about the role that sustainability and ethics would play in their future investment choices.

Why TCFD Matters: Bridging the Sustainable Investment Chasm l Business Green

  • Ahead of BusinessGreen's inaugural half day conference on navigating the guidelines from the FSB's Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, the author of this article explores why the guidelines are so significant.

Going Mainstream: The Future of ESG Investing l Newsweek

  • This article highlights how  data on investments and index performance show that taking account of ESG information can actually boost returns and reduce volatility; and Newsweek survey respondents and investors agree that integrating ESG information can improve the risk-return profile of investments, providing a “new set of eyes” for investors.

Impact Investors Should Use U.N. Targets as Investing Guide l Barron's

  • The Global Impact Investing Network is urging investors to do more than seek positive social and environmental impact from their investments by asking them to specifically tackle the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. The reason: a “massive capital gap” of about US$5 trillion to US$7 trillion a year is needed to meet the 17 goals—such as “zero hunger,” “climate action,” and “gender equality”—by the U.N.’s target date of 2030, according to Amit Bouri, CEO of the GIIN, a U.S.-based global nonprofit.
 

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Gender Lens Investing

Racial Bias in Muni Market Costs Black Colleges, Research Shows l Bloomberg

  • This article highlights how historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the U.S. pay more to issue municipal bonds than non-traditionally black schools, according to recent research. After controlling for credit quality, issue type and other relevant factors, HBCUs pay on average 14 percent more in underwriting fees compared with historically white institutions.

How To Overcome The Gender Pioneer Gap l Forbes

  • Women-led companies received only 2% of the venture capital injected into the startup economy, according to PitchBook. Not only are women-led ventures less likely to be funded, those that do break through will almost assuredly receive lower levels of funding than male-led startups. In 2017, the average deal size for companies led by men was $12 million, compared to $5 million for women. This article outlines how to bridge the gap.
 

Green Bonds

Green Bonds Webinar l Intentional Endowments Network, September 12, 2018, 12:00 p.m. ET

  • This webinar will include an introductory presentation on green bonds, which will be followed by a panel discussion highlighting the growth of the green bond market, how green bonds can help finance climate goals, what makes a bond green, and how institutional investors, including college and university endowments, can invest in the green bond market and scale green deal flow.

ESG Boom Skips Fixed Income, Forcing Fund Managers to Try Harder l WealthManagement.org

  • Sustainable investment assets grew 37% last year, according to Bloomberg data, but the majority of those funds focus on stocks. That’s leading to many conversations on Wall Street, as wealthy investors and foundations increasingly want to align their entire portfolios with their social mission but are finding few opportunities to do so in fixed income. 

3 Areas of Fixed Income Experiencing ESG Innovations l ETF Trends

  • The focus on ESG investing has made headway in the form of equities, but investors are also looking at opportunities within the fixed-income space where funds can make innovations to meet this demand. This article highlights three areas of fixed income that are currently experiencing innovations to fulfill investors’ needs for social responsibility include green bonds, development bank debt and portfolio ratings that include ESG.
 

Shareholder Engagement

Even Small Investors can Influence Climate Change and Other Policies. Here’s How l Market Watch

  • This article highlights how if you own even one share of a company, you’re a partial owner, which gives you a seat at the table to push for policies that are important to you, whether by opening a dialogue with board members, voting on resolutions or submitting your own proposals. 

Investors Urge Companies on National Association of Manufacturers Board to Oppose Its Attacks on Shareholders l Walden Asset Management and CalSTRS

  • Investors led by Walden Asset Management and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) called on 45 companies sitting on the Executive Committee and Board of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) to end the trade association’s attacks on shareholders. The investors’ letter asks the companies to distance themselves from NAM’s recent attempts to discredit shareholder engagement, particularly on climate change. 

Investors Increasingly Engaged on World Water Issues l Forbes

  • This article highlights how investors have many  options for managing their water vulnerabilities, the first being  awareness that water-scarcity concerns can pose material risks. Among the other steps investors should consider, this article highlights steps in the Ceres Investor Water Toolkit.
 
General Higher Education Endowment & Sustainability News

Update on Grinnell College Sustainability Efforts l Scarlet & Black

  • This article discusses how last May Grinnell's Board decided not to divest from fossil fuels, instead recommending to reduce the institution’s carbon footprint by implementing the College’s Sustainability Plan and by “create a standing campus Sustainability Committee comprised of students, faculty, and staff that would make annual progress reports.”

Harvard’s Foreign Farmland Investment Mess l Bloomberg

  • This article discusses how Harvard University’s holdings in developing markets have proved to be more trouble than they’re worth.
 
Investment Firm News

Mirabaud Asset Management Chooses First Head of ESG l Pensions & Investments

  • Hamid Amoura was named head of environmental, social and governance at Mirabaud Asset Management, a spokeswoman said. The position is new. Mr. Amoura's responsibilities include ensuring the firm continues to integrate ESG principles in its investment processes and developing best practices across all investment teams. Mr. Amoura manages one socially responsible investing officer, David Jeannet, who joined the firm in 2017. 

TD Ameritrade Launches Socially Aware Portfolios, Expanding Access to ESG Investing l Business Wire

  • TD Ameritrade Investment Management, LLC announced this week Socially Aware options for robo-advisor clients, helping investors to align their portfolios with their values by considering ESG factors when they invest.
 
Climate Risk, Science, Regulation & Clean Energy

Electric Vehicles’ Day Will Come, and It Might Come Suddenly l Bloomberg

  • This week, California’s state legislature approved a bill requiring the state to get 100 percent of its electricity from carbon-free sources by the year 2045. It’s a landmark for power sector decarbonization, and if Governor Jerry Brown signs the bill, it will require a transformation of the state’s energy system. This article argues that that’s why the state’s electric vehicle market is increasingly important, and worth a close look.

Rolland's Conversation with Green Champions: Ford is Investing Billions in Sustainability for the Long Term l Sustainable Brands

  • In this interview, John Cangany, Corporate Social Responsibility Communications Manager at Ford, talks about a zero-waste tradition dating back to founder Henry Ford, electric vehicles, human rights and sustainable manufacturing. 
 
Fossil Fuel Divestment

New Jersey Grappling With Role of Divesting Investments, Strategies l Pensions & Investments

  • Executives of the New Jersey Pension Fund, Trenton, are wrestling with the role that divestiture plays in investment management as they deal with mandates from politicians, lobbying from interest groups and debates within the fund's governing board. "No pension fund has a blanket policy," said Adam Liebtag, vice chairman of the State Investment Council, which sets policies — such as asset allocation —for the $77.3 billion New Jersey Pension Fund. The council advises the Division of Investment, a unit of the State Department of Treasury, which makes the pension fund investments.

Environmental Campaigners Call for Council Pension Fracking Divestment l Hereford Times

  • Friends of the Earth Scotland, 350.org and Platform have published a report showing that local authorities in Scotland invest £972 million of pension fund money in 12 companies fracking overseas, including ConocoPhillips, BP and Shell. The total across the UK of council pension fund investments in fracking is more than £9 billion, the report said. Friends of the Earth Scotland’s head of campaigns Mary Church said: “Opening up new frontiers of fossil fuels like fracked gas whether here or in the US is completely irresponsible in the context of the global climate crisis.

Study Claims County Council Indirectly Invested £90m in Fracking Companies l The Varsity

  • Cambridgeshire County Council Pension Fund invested more than £90m in fracking companies through pooled funds in 2016 to 2017, a new study by environmentalist organisations has claimed. The study, “Divest Fracking - how UK Councils are Banking on Dirty Gas”, was published yesterday by 350.org.
 
 
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