Intentionally Designed Endowments Roundtable: Opportunities for Investing in Low-Carbon Strategies and Climate Solutions
Building on the success of previous events, the Intentional Endowments Network, in partnership with the Center for Responsible Business at Berkeley-Haas and BlackRock, hosted an Intentionally Designed Endowment Roundtable for endowment decision-makers and stakeholders from institutions interested in enhancing their leadership on sustainable investing.
Date & Time: September 8, 2017, 1pm - 7pm Pacific
Location: Cheit Hall, 4th floor, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley
Size: 75 people; approximately two-thirds asset owners and one-third industry experts
Audience: Senior administrators, trustees, and investment staff from endowments and foundations, as well as sustainable investment experts from investment management firms, advisory firms, and non-profits; and other relevant stakeholders. The program was designed primarily for participants interested in pursuing sustainable investment strategies on some level and looking for support in how best to implement or advance such strategies.
Format: The event was highly interactive, with brief presentations from expert speakers or panels to deliver content and seed conversation, integrated with significant time spent in small-group dialogue sessions at round tables.
Program design: Program content was driven by responses from participants on what their key questions are on these topics at the time, and what they hope to get out of the event. The agenda was designed to build through the day to deliver necessary content, facilitate peer-to-peer information sharing and learning, and result in pragmatic, actionable outcomes for participants to take back to their institutional roles. Topics covered included:
- The state of the field in terms of institutional-ready sustainable investment strategies in public and private markets
- Climate risk, creating low-carbon portfolios, and the opportunities to invest in climate solutions
- Investing in the context of the Paris Climate Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals
- Shareholder engagement – working with managers on proxy voting, corporate dialogue, and other forms of engagement – on material ESG issues to enhance value and reduce risk
- Stakeholder engagement and effectively communicating sustainable investing efforts to the campus community
- Enhancing peer-to-peer support and learning across institutions among trustees, endowment staff and senior administrators
This event is generously sponsored by BlackRock
Like all investors, endowments face new investment risks stemming from environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, such as climate change impacts, labor conditions in corporate supply chains, and executive compensation. Research shows that companies that effectively manage ESG issues can reduce risks (e.g., regulation, litigation, consumer boycotts, etc.) and create opportunities to earn market share, reduce costs of capital, and drive innovation. Increasingly, investors are seeing these factors as material and integrating them into the investment process. Further, opportunities are growing in impact investing – investments seeking strong, market-rate returns that also have explicitly positive social and environmental impacts.
As the focus on the impact of the $550 billion in endowment funds of the nation’s higher education institutions continues to grow, now is an important time to bring together decision makers and stakeholders in the region to advance this conversation, and facilitate learning among peers and from experts in the field.
About the Center for Responsible Business at Berkeley-Haas
The Center for Responsible Business at Berkeley-Haas connects students, businesses, and faculty to mobilize the positive potential of business to create a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable society. Building on more than a decade of research, teaching, and engaging with business, we educate and provoke thoughtful debate. The Center encourages sustainability-minded research and its application in the marketplace of commerce and ideas.
BlackRock is the world's largest asset manager guiding individuals, financial professionals and institutions in building better financial futures. BlackRock Impact offers a number of solutions for investors across our three key segments: Exclusionary Screens, ESG Factors and Impact Targets.