Hannah Bowen

  • published Tamara Larsen in Steering Committee 2021-12-09 12:12:07 -0500

    Tamara Larsen

    Tamara Larsen, Executive Director, Agility

    Read more

  • published Webinar Retirement Plans Details in Past Webinars 2021-11-29 17:42:19 -0500

    IEN Webinar: Integrating ESG Options into Higher Ed Retirement Plans

    Date: Tuesday, July 30, 1pm EDT

    In this webinar, we provide an overview of a new Intentional Endowments Network (IEN) initiative designed to support institutions to integrate ESG options into their retirement plans. We cover the current landscape of sustainable investing in retirement plans, how to participate in IEN’s work in this area, and the favorable regulatory and market forces driving the need and opportunity to begin aligning your retirement plans with your organization’s sustainability commitments.

    The webinar features Samantha Stephens from Mirova, an affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers, and Sarah Bratton from Schroders. They discuss the performance of these funds and the ways in which colleges and universities can better align retirement plans with sustainability commitments. Also presenting on the webinar is Purposeful Strategies, IEN’s partner in this initiative. Purposeful Strategies has run a similar campaign for corporate pension plans with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and talks about how institutions can participate and the type of information that will be produced to help you achieve success.

    Colleges and universities are already making progress aligning endowment investments and business practices with their institutional mission, but a “blind spot” often exists between an organization’s values and the retirement investments it deploys on behalf of a vital constituency, its own employees. The overwhelming majority of institutions as well as companies have not yet aligned their retirement plans with their sustainability commitments. We believe this is a sizable sustainability gap for colleges and universities, as well as a market opportunity for the asset management and investment advisory community.

    Slides:

    Download PDF

    Recording:

     

    Presenters:

    • Sam Stephens, ESG Research Analyst, Mirova
    • Sarah Bratton, Investment Director - Sustainability, Schroders
    • Tony Calandro, President, Purposeful Strategies
    • Chris Walker, Purposeful Strategies
    • Moderator: Hannah Bowen, Network Manager, Intentional Endowments Network

  • published Webinar Retirement Plans May 2020 in Past Webinars 2021-11-29 17:41:51 -0500

    IEN Webinar: Integrating Sustainable Investment Options into Higher Ed Retirement Plans

     

    Date: Tuesday, May 5th

    Colleges and universities are already making progress aligning endowment investments and business practices with their institutional mission, but a “blind spot” often exists between an organization’s climate leadership and the retirement investments it deploys on behalf of a vital constituency, its own employees. The overwhelming majority of institutions as well as companies have not yet aligned their retirement plans with their climate commitments.


    We believe this is a sizable sustainability gap for colleges and universities, as well as a market opportunity for the asset management and investment advisory community. To address this issue, IEN launched the Sustainable Retirements Initiative to close this gap. Join us for an informative and interactive webinar with our Expert Council Members, comprised of IEN institutions and top asset management firms, to learn how your institution can close this blind spot and provide retirement funds that reflect both the mission of your organization and the values of your employees.

     

    Recording:

     

    Resources:

     

    Presenters:

    • Chris Walker, Sustainable Retirements, Intentional Endowments Network
    • Mike Fiorio, Trustee, Northland College
    • Jim Roach, Senior Vice President, Retirement Strategies, Natixis Investment Managers
    • Sarah Bratton Hughes, Head of Sustainability, North America, Schroders
    • Will Relle, Responsible Investment Consultant, Mercer

  • published Spring 2021 Newsletter in Quarterly IEN Newsletter 2021-06-18 17:30:20 -0400

    Spring 2021 Newsletter

     

    With spring in the air (at least here in the Boston area) and vaccines in circulation (at least here in the US), we are marking Earth Day this week with optimism. We’re also still holding space for the deep pain across our communities and the important work of justice and accountability.

    In this quarter’s newsletter, we share tools to hold companies accountable through proxy voting, peer learning from members making their retirement plan offerings more sustainable, peer pressure to join the growing wave of Net Zero Endowment announcements, lessons on supporting the next generation of sustainable investors, and an invitation to gather as a network in June.

    Warm Regards,

    The IEN Team

    twitter linkedin facebook

     
    IEN Q&A: Defined Contribution Plans with an ESG Overlay - The Hurdles & Untapped Investment Opportunities

    Amrita Sareen, Senior Advisor at IEN in this post interviews five investment experts on the challenges of ESG focused retirement plans:

    • Erik Gross: Treasurer, University of New Hampshire Foundation
    • Mike Fiorio: Trustee, Northland College
    • Tiffany McGhee: CEO, CIO, Pivotal Advisors
    • Sarah Bratton Hughes: Head of Sustainability, North America, Schroders
    • Jim Roach: Senior Vice President, Retirement Strategies, Natixis Investment Managers
    While many institutional investors are taking steps forward to confront ESG related risks in their portfolios, the defined contribution industry may be lagging behind. IEN is collaborating with market experts on creating a toolkit for sustainable retirement plans to help steer plan sponsors on how to navigate the challenges in offering ESG investment products. This guide is expected to be rolled out by the summer. In this vein, IEN approached various experts within the defined contribution landscape to understand the challenges regarding ESG focused offerings to plan participants. Read the full Q&A article here. To learn more about and join IEN’s Sustainable Retirements Initiative, visit this page.
    Spotlight: Climate Action Pursuit

    The Climate Action Pursuit is underway! Over 600 participants come together online for inspiration, information, and connection in the February milestone. You can review brief summaries of all of the February sessions in the event platform here, and registered participants can log in to view recordings there as well.

    It’s not too late to register! If you register between now and June 10th, you will gain access to the February session recordings and have full access to programming in the upcoming June, October, and December milestones.

    What can you expect in the June milestone? Over the course of 2 days, you’ll be able to build a personalized agenda from sessions designed to meet the need we’ve heard for programming the breaks across silos, directly connects participants to each other, and deepens the peer learning and action agenda we started in February. Keep an eye out in May for speaker and session announcements and save the dates for June 10-11, 2021 (and/or this milestone’s meeting of the Presidents & Trustees Cohort, which will take place on June 23rd). Learn more about the Climate Action Pursuit here.
    Updates from the Network
    New IEN Members

    We are pleased to welcome David Carris, The Forestland Group, University of Illinois System, Scherman Foundation, University of San Diego, and University of Washington to the Network! To learn more about the leadership opportunities and benefits of IEN membership, click here.

    IEN Team News

    At the end of March, Alice DonnaSelva transitioned out of her role as Managing Director of IEN in order to spend more time on other passions. We are happy to report that she hasn’t gone far - you can stay in touch with Alice at her IEN email address this year, as she continues in a consultant capacity on shareholder engagement initiatives. We are grateful for Alice’s continued leadership within the network!

    We are actively recruiting a new Managing Director - please review and circulate the job description here.

    Recent Webinars

    IEN Members can access the following recent webinars through our member-only archive:

    • The Energy Transition: What, How, and Why It Matters | April 20, 2021
    • Brown Bag Session: Investor Journey to Net-Zero: Understanding your Portfolio | April 19, 2021
    • Choose Your Own Climate Future: En-ROADS Climate Simulator Workshop | March 17, 2021
    • How You Can Help Stop the Sixth Mass Extinction: The Importance of Considering Biodiversity Conservation When Constructing Your Portfolio | February 3, 2021
    Upcoming Events

    Please join us for our upcoming IEN events:

    Other Events

    See our full event calendar here, and please let us know which topics you would most like to hear from members about in this year’s webinar series!

    IEN's Focus Areas
    SIILK (Sustainable & Impact Investing Learning & Knowledge) Network

    This spring, SIILK has had two main focuses: running this year’s Student Corporate Engagement Competition and releasing our first Report on the State of the Field of Student-Managed Investment Funds. Participating teams in the Competition are from Arizona State University, Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business, University of California Haas School of Business, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Yale University. Their final presentations are taking place next week, and you’re welcome to listen in (register here). Learn more here about the Competition, new report, and getting involved with additional SIILK programming.

    Supported by Federated Hermes

    Sustainable Retirements: ESG Options for Retirement Plans

    The Expert Panel for the Retirements project held two sessions at the February Pursuit milestone, and presented at GreenBiz’s GreenFin conference in April. The group is developing a Toolkit -- to be published in June -- for Plan Sponsors and campus advocates to support adoption of ESG options in 403b plans. We have also continued to hold free small-group virtual meetings to help stakeholders (Plan Sponsors, trustees, faculty, sustainability directors, investment staff, etc.) by answering questions, providing coaching, resources, and insights on how best to move forward. Learn more here about joining the Sustainable Retirements Initiative.

    Supported by Natixis, Federated Hermes, Gitterman Wealth Management, and Schroders

    Net Zero Endowments

    IEN’s Net Zero Endowments initiative continues to grow, with the launch of a Steering Committee this month that will shape and guide the project. Details on the Committee’s membership and activities will be announced soon. We had a great Net Zero session at the February milestone of the Climate Action Pursuit with case studies from Harvard, the David Rockefeller Fund, and WRI. In the June milestone we’ll hear from investment managers and nonprofit partners supporting implementation of these commitments. Within the last month UMich and Penn announced NZ commitments -- in the run-up to COP26, we encourage more endowments to commit to Net Zero Portfolios and join this initiative. Visit the Net Zero Endowments webpage for details and to get involved!

    Supported by Wellington Management

    Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    The initiative brought DEI focused sessions to the February milestone of the Climate Action Pursuit such as conversations on investor exposure to the prison industrial complex and creating your own best practices on racial equity investing. One of the outcomes from the Pursuit was the formation of a “Pursuit Team,” a small cohort of universities committed to setting goals/making progress around DEI investing. If you are interested in joining this self directed peer resource group, please contact us. We continue to host learning opportunities to support investors make progress on the action steps outlined in the Investing in Racial Equity Primer such as our upcoming workshop with Philanthropy New York on Look Under the Hood and Demand More - Investing with a Racial Equity Lens. Learn more here about joining this community, participating in joint work, or sponsoring.

    Supported by Prime Buchholz and Global Endowment Management

    Fiduciary Duty & Policy

    The Fiduciary Duty Working Group brought fiduciary duty and governance to life in a session at the Climate Action Pursuit, Staying Relevant: The Endowment as a Tool in the Toolkit, which told the story of the multi-stakeholder effort by Middlebury College to align their investments with their institutional mission. This spring the group will be evaluating the SEC’s climate change disclosure regulation and providing input. Learn more here about participating in this working group.

    Shareholder Engagement

    In late March, IEN launched a Proxy Voting Campaign led by working group members. The campaign page provides all the tools endowments need to vote proxies, including template letters to send external managers, a Resolution Tracker listing key votes to pay attention to, and a curated list of partner resources for those with the time to dig deeper. Learn more here about participating in this work.

    Trustee Peer Group

    Members of the trustee peer group have been providing input on the design of the Climate Action Pursuit, and will be attending the Presidents & Trustee sessions taking place at the remaining Pursuit milestones this year. Learn more here about participation in the Trustee Peer Group.

    Featured Resources
    Resources from IEN
    Other Resources from the Field
    In the News
    IEN in the News

    Read more coverage of the network here

    Recent Announcements About Higher Education Endowments Aligning Their Investments with Institutional Goals

    Read coverage of recent announcements by higher education endowments about their progress aligning their investments with institutional goals:

    • Amherst College: Amherst College Board of Trustees has announced it would officially divest from fossil fuel interests and phase out the remaining investments in directly held, long-term fossil fuel funds by 2030.
    • Babson College: Babson’s Board of Trustees voted to integrate ESG factors while making investment decisions for its endowment. The board voted to incorporate DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) principles into its endowment investing as well.
    • Cornell University: Cornell University Assembly passed a resolution calling on one of the main pension fund suppliers for Cornell faculty and staff to divest from fossil fuel companies and certain agribusiness practices associated with deforestation and human rights abuses.
    • Canadian Universities Unite as Investors to Help Address the Climate Crisis: A coalition of Canadian university endowments and pension plans is launching a new initiative through SHARE, a non-profit investor advocacy organization, to engage investee corporations on climate change risks.
    • Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP): Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board pledged to fully divest from US private prison companies amidst public pressure.
    • King’s College London: King’s College London has fully divested from all fossil fuels almost two years ahead of schedule.
    • Newnham College: Newnham College has announced that it will divest from all meaningful exposure to fossil fuels by 2030, in line with the University’s commitment to full divestment in the same timeframe.
    • Southern New Hampshire University: Southern New Hampshire University reassigned part of its endowment to address structural racism by investing in venture funds and start-ups founded and managed by Black and brown executives.
    • Trinity College: Trinity college commits to net zero carbon emissions before 2050, in line with the spirit of the Paris Agreement.
    • University of Cape Town: The University of Cape Town Council has approved the Responsible and Sustainable Investment Policy, which sets out the approach to be taken by the university regarding its financial endowments stewardship.
    • University of Michigan: The University of Michigan announced a plan to achieve “net zero” carbon footprint status for its $12.5 billion endowment by 2050 through measures including shifting away from investment in fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.
    • University of Pennsylvania: The Office of Investments has established the goal of reducing the net greenhouse gas emissions from Penn’s endowment investments to zero by 2050.
    • University of Southern California: The University of Southern California Board of Trustees’ Investment Committee voted to halt new investments in fossil fuels, the university announced. The university will also liquidate its existing fossil fuel investments over the next several years.
    • University of Victoria: University of Victoria announced that it is transferring $80 million to a short-term bond that reduces the “carbon intensity” of its investments. That follows the approval of a policy last year to lower carbon emissions, represented in the entire $225-million portfolio, by 45 per cent by 2030.

    View past issues of IEN’s weekly news summary online here.

    If you have an original piece you would like to submit for an upcoming newsletter, or for more information about the Intentional Endowments Network and how you can support this work, please contact Hannah Bowen at [email protected].

    Received this email as a forward from a colleague? Subscribe to IEN's news updates here.

     

     


  • Weekly News Round-Up: April 2, 2021

    As we are getting into the proxy voting season, we would like to recognize Alice DonnaSelva's Fiduciary Duty advocacy and her active contribution to IEN's 2020 proxy voting campaign. Alice has transitioned out of her role as Managing Director of IEN this week - but you can stay in touch with Alice at her IEN email address this year as she continues in a consultant capacity on shareholder engagement initiatives. We are grateful for Alice’s leadership within the network!

    In this week’s news, we remind you that today is the last day to share your expertise for the Climate Action Pursuit’s June Milestone by submitting a session proposal here. For those that couldn’t make it to the February kick-off, you are welcome to register here for the June, October, and December milestones and also get access to the February session recordings.

    Read more

  • published Impact Update: Net Zero for Everyone in Blog 2021-04-07 15:10:43 -0400

    Impact Update: Net Zero for Everyone

    Impact Update

    Intentionally Designed Endowments Making a Difference

    April 2021: Making Net Zero Portfolios the New Norm

    Read more

  • Weekly News Round-Up: March 26, 2021

    We invite you to sign on to A Community-Centered Response to Violence Against Asian American Communities with us in solidarity with Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta and Georgia NAACP, and invite you to share other ways we as a network can “build just communities, where we are all safe, where all workers are treated with dignity and respect, and where all our loved ones thrive.”

    The momentum around Net Zero Portfolios continues this week with an announcement from the University of Michigan. Learn more about IEN’s Net Zero Endowments initiative, including ways to incorporate DEI priorities into the shift to climate solutions investing, here.

    Read more

  • Weekly News Round-Up: March 19, 2021

    Reflecting on this week’s news, we are sad and angry about the continued impact of racism and misogyny in the U.S. We add our voices and efforts to the loud calls for justice, safety, and equity for Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander people. We appreciate the commitment of this network to dismantling white supremacy.

    Read more

  • Weekly News Round-Up: March 12, 2021

    This week’s news includes a snapshot of endowment investing conversations that took place at the Climate Action Pursuit, as well as an update on the momentum around Net Zero endowment portfolios.

    We’re also continuing our regular webinar series with a workshop on using a free tool to model the impacts of various policy and technology levers on the climate crisis - register here to join that session on March 17th at 1pm ET.

    Read more

  • published Press Coverage 2021 in Press & Media 2021-03-08 13:39:47 -0500

  • Weekly News Round-Up: March 5, 2021

    We were so pleased to spend time with many of you last week at the first milestone of the Climate Action Pursuit. For those who attended, please let us know how your experience went, and what you’d like to see in future milestones - we’ll be reopening the call for session proposals soon! For those who missed last week’s sessions - take a look at the session descriptions here for key takeaways. It’s not too late to register for full access to the recorded sessions and access to future milestones (see registration options here).

    Our regular monthly webinar series is also continuing this month, with Choose Your Own Climate Future: En-ROADS Climate Simulator Workshop for Investors on March 17th at 1pm ET.

    Read more

  • Weekly News Round-Up: February 26, 2021

    It has been wonderful seeing many of you online this week at the Climate Action Pursuit! We've been busy connecting there, so haven't been following the news - we'll be back to our regular news round-up next Friday, but in the meantime, are pleased to share this special Climate Action Pursuit edition!

    If you missed the February milestone, don't worry! You can join the journey in our next milestone, June 10-11, 2021.

    Read more

  • Weekly News Round-Up: January 29, 2021

    IEN Logo Weekly News Round-Up:
    January 29, 2021
    IEN Member Edition
     

    A few highlights in the news this week include announcements by Columbia University, pension plans in New York City and Ontario, and the Rockefeller Foundation that they’re moving away from investing in fossil fuels, as well as a net zero emissions commitment from BlackRock’s annual letter to clients.

    Our next opportunities to connect as a network are coming up quickly - a webinar on biodiversity on February 3rd, and the first milestone of this year’s Climate Action Pursuit on February 24th!

    Have a great weekend,

    Gwladys Ngatchou and Hannah Bowen
    The Intentional Endowments Network

    twitter linkedin facebook

     

    Thank you for being an IEN Member! This comprehensive edition of the Weekly News Roundup is one of the benefits of membership.
    Non-members can subscribe to an abridged version here.

    Skip to news about:
    IEN Members & Activities | Climate Action Pursuit | Take Action | Sustainable Investing Trends | Higher Education Trends | Addressing Inequality | Addressing the Climate Crisis | Building Sustainable Retirements | Next Generation of Sustainable Investors | Engaging Corporations | Divestment Movements | Policy News | Investment Firm News | Partnership Opportunities | Event Calendar

    IEN Members & Activities
    IEN Member Spotlight

    Diverse Asset Managers Initiative (DAMI) released a letter responding to Chief Investment Officer David Swensen's call for more diversity in his Yale University investment office and investment strategies. Read DAMI’s analysis and recommendations for further action here.

    Read a profile of Dianne Dillon-Ridgley, a member of the Board of the Crane Institute of Sustainability, IEN’s nonprofit home: Fight Like a Girl: A Look at Climate Activist and Women’s Rights Advocate Dianne Dillon-Ridgley

    Climate Action Pursuit Updates

    Second Nature and IEN will bring higher education, finance, nonprofits, and government together during our Climate Action Pursuit’s four milestones of flexible virtual programming in February, June, October, and December. And we are excited to share the following news with you!

    • *Updated* February Agenda: The February milestone agenda is now available. This first milestone will be from Wednesday, February 24 – Friday, February 26, 2021.
    • Registration: The 2021 Climate Action Pursuit is now open for registration. Please find all of the registration details you need to know.
    • Sponsorship: Become a sponsor of this ambitious journey toward justice and resilience. Higher Ed institutions can also join as a Host Institution.
    • *Updated* Speakers: Meet the leaders who are joining us as speakers and discussion leaders for this 2021 Climate Action Pursuit!
    Register today to use the Climate Action Pursuit as a platform for achieving your goals for 2021!
    Take Action

    Call for Co-Filers - Forced Arbitration Use at Tesla | Nia Capital

    • Deadline: April 15. Nia Impact Capital is seeking co-filers for shareholder resolution at Tesla calling on the company's Board to study its requirement that employees arbitrate harassment and discrimination disputes. Last year, the resolution received a 27% vote and was supported by ISS and Glass Lewis. To co-file, please be sure to list Nia Impact Capital as the lead filer and give it the authorization to withdraw on your behalf. Filing letters should be sent to Tesla, Inc., 3500 Deer Creek Road, Palo Alto, California 94304, Attention: Legal Department with a copy via e-mail to [email protected] Learn more on the resolution here.

    Sign the Due Diligence 2.0 Commitment | Adasina

    • Traditional due-diligence and risk-assessment frameworks in the asset management industry have led to a system in which white, male asset managers control 98.7% of the investment industry’s $69 trillion in assets under management. Adasina invites you to join other asset owners, consultants, and financial intermediaries in committing to creating a more inclusive due diligence process for diverse asset managers. Sign the commitment here

    Investor Statement | Access to Medicine Index

    • As of January 2020, 100+ investors – together managing assets of more than USD 18 trillion – have signed the Access to Medicine Index Investor Statement and committed to using the research of the Access to Medicine Foundation (ATMF) in their investment analysis and engagements with companies. Those interested can contact Mara Lilley, Investor Engagement Manager ([email protected]), and find out more about ATMF’s work with investors here.

    See a list of investor actions on Covid-19, racial justice, and other sign-on opportunities here.

    Read New Resources and Reports

    Net Zero: A Fiduciary Approach | BlackRock

    • BlackRock is committed to supporting the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner. We are taking a number of steps to help investors prepare their portfolios for a net zero world, including capturing opportunities created by the net zero transition. The letter outlines key actions for 2021. Read as well Larry Fink's 2021 Letter to CEOs.

    2021 Access to Medicine Index | Access to Medicine Foundation

    • A new shift in pharmaceutical company policy could shorten the time people in lower income countries must typically wait for new medicines and vaccines, reports the 2021 Access to Medicine Index, published Tuesday. Eight leading pharmaceutical companies are moving to systematically pair candidates in their R&D pipelines with plans for making them accessible in low- and middle-income countries soon after the products are launched onto markets.
    Sustainable Investing Trends
    Sustainable Investing by Institutional Asset Owners

    University Announcement on Fossil Fuel Investments | Columbia University

    • Recognizing the grave threat to the planet that is posed by climate change and the importance of transparency in the use of its financial resources, Columbia University has adjusted its investment policies to include an important update related to investments in oil and gas companies. The University does not hold any direct investments in publicly traded oil and gas companies, and is formalizing this policy of non-investment for the foreseeable future. Recognizing that certain oil and gas companies aim to transition their businesses to net zero emissions by 2050, the University may make an exception to its non-investment policy when a credible plan exists for a company to do so.

    We are Moving Away from Fossil Fuels, Towards a More Equitable Future | The Rockefeller Foundation

    • The Rockefeller Foundation’s President writes: “Late last year, the Foundation reimagined our philanthropic model. First, we borrowed money from the bond market to massively boost our financial commitment to end the pandemic... We also committed to a just, equitable recovery by ending energy poverty... using clean, sustainable sources of power, enabling 2.8 billion people to participate in the global economy... Our commitment to powering this potential while combatting climate change means we are divesting our $5 billion endowment of fossil fuel interests while refraining from any future investments in that sector. We believe it is time to officially align our internal investment strategy with our external values and mission.”

    Ontario Teachers Commits to Net Zero Emissions by 2050 | Pensions & Investments

    • The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Toronto, is committing to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, officials there announced. Next steps for Ontario Teachers include establishing concrete targets for portfolio emissions and increased investments in climate solutions, and physical risk assessments of direct holdings. The organization will also partner with other climate action advocacy groups, and ask portfolio companies to manage emissions and report annually on efforts to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

    NYC Pension Funds to Divest Fossil Fuels | Pensions & Investments

    • Two of the five pension funds in the New York City Retirement Systems will divest an estimated $4 billion in securities related to fossil fuel companies. Boards of the $77.4 billion New York City Employees' Retirement System and the $91.4 billion New York City Teachers' Retirement System voted to approve divestment. A third pension fund, the $7.8 billion New York City Board of Education Retirement System, is expected to vote soon for divestment. The city pension funds representing police and firefighters are not participating.
    Sustainable, Impact, and ESG Investing News

    Here Are MSCI’s Five ESG Trends to Watch in 2021 | InvestmentNews

    • Demand from investors to decarbonize their portfolios coupled with a shrinking pool of investments that align with the goals of the Paris Agreement may leave investors in the year ahead with little choice but to call on companies to exit some businesses altogether. Investors in 2021 can also expect a more nuanced understanding of when and how ESG delivers financial benefits, alarm bells on biodiversity, a deluge of ESG disclosure, and a focus on addressing social inequality.

    Net Zero Investment: What role do investors play? | Investment Week

    • BusinessGreen hosted a recent webinar, in association with Schroders, which examined the role investors can play in accelerating, or delaying, the net zero transition. The interactive panel discussion explored the challenges businesses and investors face as they seek to get a better handle on climate risks and environmental performance, and featured a host of leading figures and experts in the world of sustainable investing.

    Data Voted the Biggest Hurdle for Investors Trying to Address Biodiversity | Responsible Investor

    • Unearthing Investor Action on Biodiversity, conducted in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, the Zoological Society of London and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, takes an in-depth look at how, and to what extent, investors are addressing biodiversity - a topic that has shot up the financial agenda over the last 18 months. Want to learn more? Sign up for IEN’s February 3rd webinar on this theme.

    Sustainable Fixed Income Beyond Green Bonds | Institutional Investor

    • Demand is growing among investors for new ways to tap the potential. Solutions are emerging.

    A Broken Record: Flows for U.S. Sustainable Funds Again Reach New Heights | Morningstar

    • Net flows of $51 billion in 2020 were more than double the total for 2019 and nearly 10 times more than in 2018.

    What Gets Measured Gets Managed: How Sustainability Reporting Can Help Save The Planet | Forbes

    • This article summarizes the development of the Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics initiative by the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council.

    Investors Warned of Stranded Assets as ESG Gains Traction | The Asset

    • Those who ignore the growing trend of sustainable investing may end up facing write-downs, says a report by the Bloomberg Women’s Buy-Side Network.

    37% of U.S. Advisers Consider ESG Factors in Every Portfolio | InvestmentNews

    • Last Word Research, in collaboration with InvestmentNews’ ESG Clarity US, has produced a 2021 global ESG report, “Competing in an ESG World: How far must fund managers go to embed ESG into their firms?” It tracks the changing attitudes toward ESG across the globe.
    Sustainable Business Spotlight

    Read the latest observations on sustainable business trends from Greenbiz:

    Finance: Bloomberg Green

    • Kristal Hansley is working to bring renewable energy to low-income households. BlackRock Chairman Larry Fink is urging business leaders to step up their climate goals. Dot-com era stock valuations are raising fears of a bubble among ESG funds. Three New York City pension funds are divesting $4 billion from fossil fuel companies.Total is getting the fastest start on clean energy among all of the European oil majors.
    Higher Education Trends
    Higher Education Endowments

    Traditional Portfolios Won’t Cut It Anymore, Endowments and Foundations Say | Institutional Investor

    • Endowments and foundations believe stocks and bonds will fare worse in this decade than the last, according to a new survey from TIFF Investment Management.
    Campus Sustainability & Resilience

    New FSU Master’s Program to Focus on Sustainability | Florida State University News

    • Florida State University’s Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship is launching a new online major in the Master of Science program this fall to prepare students to help companies meet the demands of today but not at the expense of tomorrow.
    Addressing Inequality

    Meketa Announces Robust Initiative to Evaluate and Rate Asset Managers’ Diversity Efforts | Yahoo Finance

    • Meketa, a global investment consulting and fiduciary management (OCIO) firm, today announced the launch of a new initiative to more thoroughly evaluate and rate asset managers’ efforts to ensure diversity and inclusion within their organizations. Meketa’s Annual Diversity & Inclusion Questionnaire will be sent to all public and private market managers within the firm’s internal database this month and will be included in all Request for Proposals and Due Diligence Questionnaires moving forward.

    The Bold Steps Business Leaders Must Take on Social Justice | World Economic Forum

    • A year of pandemic, protest and societal disruption has created an inflection point for many companies to evaluate corporate sustainability strategies. There has been a concerted effort within industries to recruit and educate senior executives based on social and environmental competencies. Business leaders should look to employ multi-stakeholder coalitions and integrated intersectional approaches.
    Gender Lens Investing

    Najada Kumbuli: Aligning Assets with Values at Visa Foundation | Philanthropy Women

    • As Head of Investments for the Visa Foundation, Najada Kumbuli is responsible for leading investment efforts in support of the Foundation’s mission to financially empower unserved or underserved women-owned, micro and small businesses, including the allocation of $140 million in private market capital to support the Foundation’s Equitable Access Initiative as well as re-alignment of the broader portfolio of investments to reflect the values and priorities of the Visa Foundation.
    Community Impact Investing

    Building Indigenous Power and Investing in Indigenous Self-Determination | Stanford Social Innovation Review

    • To solve the most pressing issues for Indigenous communities—and for the world at large—power and autonomy must be given to Indigenous people themselves. In this In-Depth Series, in partnership between NDN and SSIR, you will hear from Indigenous leaders with solutions for investors who want to help further Indigenous priorities; from folks working on transformative narrative change and increasing Indigenous visibility; from organizers speaking on how Indigenous people are building our collective political power; and more.

    Podcast 282: Catherine Berman of CNote | Lend Academy

    • The CEO and Co-Founder of CNote discusses bringing tech and scale to impact investing for a more inclusive economy.

    California Endowment Taps Bond Market for First Time in 18 Years | Bloomberg

    • The California Endowment, the largest health foundation in the state, plans to offer its first debt sale in nearly two decades to help alleviate some of the financial pressure charities around have been facing due to Covid-19. The $3.9 billion endowment plans to price $300 million of bonds as early as this week to fund grants to nonprofit groups.
    Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Best Practices

    2020 NGO & Foundation Transparency Report Card | Green2.0

    • For the fourth year in a row, Green 2.0—an independent advocacy campaign to increase racial and ethnic diversity within the mainstream environmental movement—presents diversity data from the movement’s most influential non-profit organizations (“NGOs”) and foundations. The 2020 Green 2.0 Transparency Report Card reflects data collected from the 40 largest NGOs and 40 largest foundations on the number of women and people of color on their full-time staffs, senior staffs, and boards as collected through Green 2.0’s partnership with Guidestar by Candid. The full report shows the individual data for the top 40 NGOs and funders as reported over the four years.
    Addressing the Climate Crisis

    Tackling the Climate Crisis in a Just and Inclusive Way | CDC Group

    • The world’s most vulnerable people are taking the brunt of the effects of global warming. How can we solve our generation’s biggest challenge without impacting the populations least responsible for it?
    Net Zero Emissions

    Net Zero: A Fiduciary Approach | BlackRock

    • BlackRock is committed to supporting the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner. We are taking a number of steps to help investors prepare their portfolios for a net zero world, including capturing opportunities created by the net zero transition. The letter outlines key actions for 2021. Read as well Larry Fink's 2021 Letter to CEOs.

    Net Zero Investment: What role do investors play? | Investment Week

    • BusinessGreen hosted a recent webinar, in association with Schroders, which examined the role investors can play in accelerating, or delaying, the net zero transition. The interactive panel discussion explored the challenges businesses and investors face as they seek to get a better handle on climate risks and environmental performance, and featured a host of leading figures and experts in the world of sustainable investing.
    Climate Risk & Climate Science

    Earth Is Now Losing 1.2 trillion Tons of Ice Each Year. And It’s Going to Get Worse. | Washington Post

    • Global ice loss has increased rapidly over the past two decades, and scientists are still underestimating just how much sea levels could rise, according to alarming new research published this month.
    Clean Energy

    Climate Change Triggers Evolution in Renewable Energy Risk Landscape | Insurance Business

    • Global insurance brokerage, risk advisory and solutions company, Willis Towers Watson, has urged risk managers to respond to an evolving risk landscape prompted by climate change.

    General Motors Plans to Exclusively Offer Electric Vehicles by 2035 | CNBC

    • GM plans to exclusively offer electric vehicles by 2035, ending production of its cars, trucks and SUVs with diesel- and gasoline-powered engines. The company’s “aspirations” are part of a larger plan for the Detroit automaker to be carbon neutral by 2040 in its global products and operations.
    Building Sustainable Retirements

    New DOL ESG Guidance Expected to Encourage More Plan Adoption | Plan Advisor

    • In a TIAA webinar held Thursday, “Understanding the DOL ‘ESG Rule’ and its Impact on Plan Sponsors,” speakers said they expect the new rule to encourage more plan sponsors to embrace environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing, particularly because it has started to become more mainstream and continued to deliver strong performance.
    Engaging Corporations

    Corporations Continue to Increase Their Sustainability Disclosure in Key Areas | The Conference Board

    • Major corporations notably increased their sustainability disclosures in key areas last year, including climate-risk reporting, human rights, and water stress exposure, according to a new report by The Conference Board.

    Many Boards Lacking ESG Expertise, Study Finds | Corporate Secretary

    • Despite the growing pressure for companies to address material risks arising from ESG-related issues, there is a severe lack of relevant expertise on such topics among board members of large US companies, according to a new study.

    Disney Shareholders to Vote on Lobbying and Employee Representation | Corporate Secretary

    • Multiple co-filers intend to present a proposal, which the board opposes, requesting full disclosure of Disney’s direct and indirect lobbying activities and expenditures to assess whether this is consistent with the company’s goals and in the best interests of shareholders. The second shareholder proposal calls for the board to adopt a policy of ‘promoting significant representation of employee perspectives among corporate decision-makers.’
    Divestment Movements
    Fossil Fuel Divestment

    University Announcement on Fossil Fuel Investments | Columbia University

    • Recognizing the grave threat to the planet that is posed by climate change and the importance of transparency in the use of its financial resources, Columbia University has adjusted its investment policies to include an important update related to investments in oil and gas companies. The University does not hold any direct investments in publicly traded oil and gas companies, and is formalizing this policy of non-investment for the foreseeable future. Recognizing that certain oil and gas companies aim to transition their businesses to net zero emissions by 2050, the University may make an exception to its non-investment policy when a credible plan exists for a company to do so.

    We are Moving Away from Fossil Fuels, Towards a More Equitable Future | The Rockefeller Foundation

    • The Rockefeller Foundation’s President writes: “Late last year, the Foundation reimagined our philanthropic model. First, we borrowed money from the bond market to massively boost our financial commitment to end the pandemic... We also committed to a just, equitable recovery by ending energy poverty... using clean, sustainable sources of power, enabling 2.8 billion people to participate in the global economy... Our commitment to powering this potential while combatting climate change means we are divesting our $5 billion endowment of fossil fuel interests while refraining from any future investments in that sector. We believe it is time to officially align our internal investment strategy with our external values and mission.”

    Ontario Teachers Commits to Net Zero Emissions by 2050 | Pensions & Investments

    • The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Toronto, is committing to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, officials there announced. Next steps for Ontario Teachers include establishing concrete targets for portfolio emissions and increased investments in climate solutions, and physical risk assessments of direct holdings. The organization will also partner with other climate action advocacy groups, and ask portfolio companies to manage emissions and report annually on efforts to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

    NYC Pension Funds to Divest Fossil Fuels | Pensions & Investments

    • Two of the five pension funds in the New York City Retirement Systems will divest an estimated $4 billion in securities related to fossil fuel companies. Boards of the $77.4 billion New York City Employees' Retirement System and the $91.4 billion New York City Teachers' Retirement System voted to approve divestment. A third pension fund, the $7.8 billion New York City Board of Education Retirement System, is expected to vote soon for divestment. The city pension funds representing police and firefighters are not participating.
    Policy News

    Ceres Applauds President Biden’s Bold Executive Action on the Climate Crisis on First Day | Ceres

    • Ceres, business leaders, and advocates around the globe are applauding the new Administration’s swift action to reenter the U.S. into the global Paris Agreement, and a set of new executive actions to tackle the climate crisis. Among the actions include placing a moratorium on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, revising fuel economy and emission standards and methane emission standards, and revoking the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline.

    A Question of Time: EU Taxonomy Sparks Race Among Managers to Improve ESG Credentials | Investment Week

    • The EU's sweeping reforms of sustainability regulations will bring greater ESG transparency, but asset managers warn they risk creating a 'green bubble' as investors could rush towards a handful of firms considered truly sustainable in a bid to improve their overall ESG scores.
    Investment Firm News

    Schroders Pledges to Go Beyond ‘Box Ticking’ with ESG Launch | FT Advisor

    • Schroders has pledged its sustainable investing process will “go beyond box ticking” as it launched a pair of environmental, social and governance focused UK-based funds.

    Meketa Announces Robust Initiative to Evaluate and Rate Asset Managers’ Diversity Efforts | Yahoo Finance

    • Meketa, a global investment consulting and fiduciary management (OCIO) firm, today announced the launch of a new initiative to more thoroughly evaluate and rate asset managers’ efforts to ensure diversity and inclusion within their organizations. Meketa’s Annual Diversity & Inclusion Questionnaire will be sent to all public and private market managers within the firm’s internal database this month and will be included in all Request for Proposals and Due Diligence Questionnaires moving forward.

    Fidelity Investments Introduces Technology Solution to Help Advisors Grow Their ESG Investing Practices | Business Wire

    • To support growing demand for sustainable investing and help financial advisors facilitate ESG investing conversations with clients, Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of investment and technology products and solutions to more than 13,500 financial institutions, launches Fidelity ESG Pro – a simple, streamlined ESG solution for advisorsv that brings together portfolio construction and client experience tools.

    Northern Trust Asset Management Launches Climate Aware Emerging Market Index Strategy | BusinessWire

    • Northern Trust Asset Management, one of the world’s leading investment managers, continues to expand its sustainability solutions with the launch of a unique, sustainable emerging market green transition index strategy, with climate change considerations as a cornerstone.

    Qontigo Becomes a Principles for Responsible Investment Signatory | PR Newswire

    • Qontigo has become a signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the United Nations-supported proponent of responsible investing, underscoring Qontigo's commitment to advance sustainability in the global investment community.

    AM Giant Expands Sustainable Investing Team in Hong Kong | CityWire Asia

    • JP Morgan Asset Management has appointed Felix Lam as head of investment stewardship for Asia ex-Japan and Robert Harden as a sustainable investing research analyst. Both roles are based in Hong Kong and report to Jennifer Wu, who is the global head of sustainable investing.
    Partnership Opportunities
    • Sponsor the Climate Action Pursuit: In 2021, be a sponsor of an ambitious pursuit of climate action, justice, and resilience. The Climate Action Pursuit is a brand new concept — a series of milestones with virtual programming that connects higher ed and finance leaders. To discuss the possibilities of partnership,or sponsorship, please contact: Hannah Bowen at [email protected]
    • Support racial equity investing: We are accelerating network action on investing in racial equity through 2021. Thank you to Prime Buchholz and Global Endowment Management for answering this call to support our initiative! To join them in sponsoring this work or to learn more about the series of webinars, workshops, and other peer-learning convenings in the pipeline, please contact Kaede at [email protected]
    • Sponsor the Student Corporate Engagement Competition: IEN’s Student Corporate Engagement Competition is a first-of-its-kind student investment competition, in which students write an investment recommendation for a publicly-traded company that includes both financial analysis and a shareholder engagement strategy to improve the company’s performance and societal impact. This Competition is a media-worthy, high-visibility way to demonstrate your firm’s leadership on sustainable investing by supporting the next generation of sustainable investing professionals, and a great way to access a hiring pipeline of students with training in sustainable investing. We are now offering the opportunity to become a major partner and sponsor of the Competition to expand its reach, visibility, and impact. To learn more reach out to Nicole at [email protected]
    Sustainable Finance Careers

    Visit the new IEN Members Job Board page on IEN’s website to see postings from IEN members.

    Calendar of Upcoming Events
    IEN Events

    IEN Webinar: How You Can Help Stop the Sixth Mass Extinction. The Importance of Considering Biodiversity Conservation When Constructing Your Portfolio | IEN, February 03, 2021, 10am ET

    IEN Session at WOHESC: Investing in Sustainability: How to Leverage Your Institution’s Endowment | IEN, February 11, 2021, 11:30 am ET

    Climate Action Pursuit - February Milestone | February 24-26, 2021

    Climate Action Pursuit - June Milestone | June 10-11, 2021

    Climate Action Pursuit - October Milestone | October 7-8, 2021

    Climate Action Pursuit - December Milestone | December 9-10, 2021

    Other Events

    GreenBiz 21: The Premier Annual Event For Sustainable Business Leaders | GreenBiz Online Event, Feb 9 - 11, 2021 (Invitation Upon Request)

    Washington & Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WOHESC) | Social Enterprises, February 11 - 12, 2021, 11am ET As a Community Partner for the WOHESC our members can use a 30% discount code during registration

    Clean200 – 2021 Live Webinar | Corporate Knights & As You Sow, February 18, 7am PST

    Ceres 2021 Conference:Transform Tomorrow Today | Ceres, March 22 - 25, Virtual Event

    GreenFin 21 | GreenBiz Online Event, April 13 - 14, 2021, (Invitation-only)

    Received this email as a forward from a colleague? Subscribe to IEN's news updates here.

     

     


  • published Fall 2020 Newsletter in Quarterly IEN Newsletter 2021-01-25 18:35:54 -0500

    Fall 2020 Newsletter

    Quarterly Newsletter - Fall 2020

     

    In these uncertain times, we remain focused on resilience and on building the economy, campuses, and communities we want. Over the last few months, we have showcased the work of Warren Wilson College to activate their ownership stake in order to align the endowment’s investments with the institution’s long-term interests. We have also been encouraged by the strong interest in IEN’s primer on Investing in Racial Equity - including a well-attended webinar on investing with diverse-owned asset managers, new signatories to the Belonging Pledge and an active town hall meeting of signatories. Stay tuned for a Racial Equity thematic track in the upcoming Climate Action Pursuit.

    Please take a moment to visit IEN’s refreshed website, and let us know where you’d like us to focus in the year ahead (if you are already an IEN member, please do so by completing the annual member survey here)!

    Warm Regards,

    The IEN Team

    twitter linkedin facebook

     
    School Spotlight: Warren Wilson College

    How can endowment leaders partner with the companies they own to create long term value? IEN’s new case study, Warren Wilson College: Active Ownership in the Endowment, describes a path all endowments can follow to exercise their ownership stake to ensure that companies are adequately addressing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities. Read the full case study and consider getting involved with IEN’s Shareholder Engagement Working Group.

    Want to see other examples of endowments’ sustainable investing journeys? Take a look at our 2020 Endowment Snapshots Report.

    Coming Soon: Climate Action Pursuit

    The Higher Ed Climate Leadership Summit has been transformed for 2021, into a Climate Action Pursuit!

    Throughout 2021, Second Nature and the Intentional Endowments Network will lead an ambitious pursuit of climate action, justice, and resilience. The Climate Action Pursuit is a brand new concept - a series of check-in points with flexible programming that supports participants’ work to act and lead on equity and climate on our campuses, in our communities, and across our society and economy.

    The Climate Action Pursuit will bring people together in a series of milestone check-in points - in February, June, October, and December 2021 - for a flexible virtual program of learning, networking, and workshop sessions that give participants the tools and peer-support to accomplish their climate, resilience, and justice goals.

    Mark your calendar for the first Climate Action Pursuit milestone February 24-26, 2021, sign up here for updates and to provide input on the program, and stay tuned for registration opening soon!
    Updates from the Network
    New IEN Members

    We are pleased to welcome MOZAIK Philanthropy Inc, Eve Ellis, Sarasin Asset Management, and Diverse Asset Managers Initiative to the Network! To learn more about the leadership opportunities and benefits of IEN membership, click here.

    IEN Team News

    This fall we shared the bittersweet news that IEN Co-founder Tony Cortese is retiring. We are pleased that Gwladys Ngatchou has stayed on in a staff role this fall - you have probably seen her name on the Weekly News Round-up over the last few months! We are also joined this semester by fall intern Shawn Cain.

    Website

    Visit an updated homepage reflecting our updated strategic plan, with deeper content on the network's focus areas and specific social equity and climate goals for intentional endowments, their consultants, their asset managers and the companies they own.

    Walk through the updated Intentionally Designed Endowment Roadmap, which serves as a guide for navigating the rich resources compiled by the network in order to take action. If you already know which types of resources you need to take your next step forward, you can also navigate directly to an updated Resource Library full of tools, examples, and evidence.

    Recent Webinars

    IEN Members can access the following webinars through our member-only archive:

    • Integrating Sustainable Investment Options Into Retirement Plans – Fiduciary Duty Considerations | November 18, 2020
    • Measuring Impact in Endowment Portfolios | November 10, 2020
    • Investing Sustainably in a Time of Change | October 29, 2020
    • Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance: Latest Methodologies for Net Zero Portfolios | October 7, 2020
    • Introduction to the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) for Endowments | September 17, 2020
    • Endowment 101 l August 26, 2020
    • Allocating to Diverse-Owned Asset Managers | August 5, 2020
    • Beyond Divestment - Climate Change Strategies for Endowments (with PRI) | July 9, 2020
    Upcoming Events

    IEN Events:

    How You Can Help Stop the Sixth Mass Extinction. The Importance of Considering Biodiversity Conservation When Constructing Your Portfolio | December 16, 2020 1-2pm ET

    IEN Session at WOHESC: Investing in Sustainability: How to Leverage Your Institution’s Endowment | IEN, February 11, 2021, 11:30 am ET

    Climate Action Pursuit - February Milestone | February 24-26, 2021

    Climate Action Pursuit - June Milestone | June 10-11, 2021

    Climate Action Pursuit - October Milestone | October 7-8, 2021

    Climate Action Pursuit - December Milestone | December 9-10, 2021

     

    Other Events:

    IMP Huddle Option 1: Impact Management for Social Equity | November 30, 2020

    RI Digital: USA 2020 Conference | Responsible Investor, December 2nd-3rd 2020

    IMP Huddle Option 2: Impact Management for Social Equity | December 3, 2020

    Rethink, Rebuild, Recover a New Vision For a Better Tomorrow | Reuters Event, January 11-14, 2021

    Washington & Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WOHESC) | Social Enterprises, February 11 - 12, 2021, 11am ET As a Community Partner for the WOHESC our members can use a 30% discount code during registration.


    To view more upcoming events, click here.

    IEN's Focus Areas
    SIILK (Sustainable & Impact Investing Learning & Knowledge) Network

    In the past few months, the SIILK Network has continued to connect with students, faculty, and staff on their work with sustainably invested student-managed funds and sustainable investing curriculum. SIILK’s focus this fall has been on developing this year’s Student Corporate Engagement Competition and recruiting participants and sponsors. If interested in learning more about the Competition, additional SIILK programming, or connecting with stakeholders to share best practices and advance the sustainable investing education space, please reach out to Nicole at [email protected].

    Sustainable Retirements: ESG Options for Retirement Plans

    Watch the recording of our recent webinar on Fiduciary Duty which was postponed from June due to proposed changes by the Department of Labor on the use of ESG in ERISA plans. In September, we joined a coalition of investor groups in sharing an analysis of the comments to that proposed rule, which overwhelmingly showed investor opposition. Since September, we have been holding a free series of small-group virtual meetings between stakeholders interested in advancing Sustainable Retirement conversations within their institutions, and members of our Expert Panel (Federated/Hermes, Gitterman Wealth Management, Mercer, Momentum Advisors, Natixis, Schroders). The Experts Panel is a resource that can: Share their expertise and experience, Address questions, and Provide coaching, resources, and insights on how best to move forward. The focus groups are small informal conversations, under the Chatham House Rule, to learn from peers and experts about issues like - what ESG options are available? How do they perform financially? Are ESG options riskier? What are the relevant issues around Fiduciary Duty? And any other questions you may have. Please reach out to [email protected] if you would be interested in joining a focus group conversation, and/or use this link to receive updates on this work.

    Supported by Natixis, Federated Hermès, Gitterman Wealth Management, and Schroders

    Net Zero Endowments

    In recent months, several leading endowments, including Harvard, Stanford, and Cambridge, have made commitments to Net Zero Portfolios. IEN is developing a new initiative on Net Zero Endowments, with a series of educational programs and peer-learning opportunities focused on this topic. We have partnered with the Net Zero Asset Owners Alliance (AOA) on this effort; and will be supporting endowments in making net zero commitments, and participating in collective shareholder engagement activities. Visit our new webpage on Net Zero Endowments, where we will be adding relevant resources and programming, and join us for the Climate Action Pursuit, which will include a focus on making and implementing these commitments.

    Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    The DEI working group launched the Investing in Racial Equity: A Primer for College & University Endowments in August and have organized a series of webinars to support endowment progress around the new primer’s Call to Action. We continue to organize calls every 3-4 months to exchange resources, outline our strategies for 2021, and collaborate for action. The Group is currently seeking sponsors to advance the DEI work. If you are interested in learning more about this work, please reach out to Kaede at [email protected].

    Fiduciary Duty & Policy

    The Fiduciary Duty Working Group welcomed new members from Sage Advisory, Mantle314, the World Wildlife Fund and the Tuck Center for Business, Government and Society. The working group has focused on providing support to the Retirement Initiative and to broadening IEN’s outreach to trustees to a number of trustee organizations for nonprofits, family offices and foundations through a joint marketing and communications agreement. A few members of the working group continue to work on developing a training program for lay fiduciaries including those at colleges and universities, foundations, pension plans, and personal trusts. They plan to deliver executive education on fiduciary leadership, stewardship and governance and are looking for a host institution. If you have any questions or are interested in this work, please reach out to Alice at [email protected].

    Shareholder Engagement

    After a pilot program to support Warren Wilson College in practicing active ownership, IEN took time to reflect on our learnings and to design and seek funding for a shareholder engagement program to help more endowments effectively engage companies particularly to advance efforts in creating net zero portfolios and to advance racial justice. We have been connecting with possible collaborators in this work such as ICCR, As You Sow, Thirty Percent Coalition, The Shareholder Commons and Majority Action. Having recently learned that we will receive some grant funding for the project, we look forward to reconvening this working group to move this important program forward. In the meantime, we have continued to notify our members of opportunities for investor action around companies' ESG issues (particularly related to the current racial justice movement and public health crisis), through sign-on letters and commitments. Please reach out to Alice at [email protected] if you are interested in participating in this work.

    Trustee Peer Group

    The trustee peer group has been sharing insights on the governance and implementation processes for sustainable investing by endowments, and connecting with peers on other Boards that are undertaking these processes. This month, we shared a presentation from The Boarding School on their work to support more young people in becoming Trustees, including through their Harvard Forward and Yale Forward campaigns. If you are a trustee and interested in participating in this group, please reach out to Georges at [email protected].

    Featured Resources
    Resources from IEN

    To see more reports, articles, videos and other resources by topic, visit the resource library on our website.

    Other Resources from the Field
    In the News
    IEN in the News

    Read more coverage of the network here

    Recent Announcements About Higher Education Endowments Aligning Their Investments with Institutional Goals
    • University of Michigan Board of Regents announced Feb. 20 it will pause new direct fossil fuel investments while considering adjustments to the university’s policies on how it invests endowment funds.
    • University of Reading is selling all its remaining investments in fossil fuels and putting its money behind green schemes following the appointment of fund manager Cazenove Capital. The Reading University Students’ Union (RUSU) helped the tender process.
    • Queen’s University (Canada) Board of Trustees unanimously approved the recommendations of the Climate Change Action Task Force, including a pledge to reduce the carbon intensity of the University’s investments.
    • Santa Monica College announced a new endowment named in honor of George Floyd, the black man killed by police in Minneapolis last month.
    • Cambridge University aims to divest from all direct and indirect investments in fossil fuels by 2030 as part of the University’s plan to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2038, more than a decade before the date set by the UK Government.
    • Yale University’s Chief Investment Officer David Swensen has publicly instructed the firms who manage the University’s endowment to diversify their ranks — or risk Yale pulling its money from them.
    • University Of Toronto Asset Management Corporation is one of the three finalists for Canadian Investment Review’s first Pension Leadership Awards in the category of Sustainable Investing.
    • Church Of England’s pension board is now fully divested from the oil giant for not meeting key climate criteria.
    • University Of Toronto Asset Management Corporation decided to embed responsible investing across the organization and has implemented a comprehensive approach to evaluating managers, which includes a relevant section in its investment due diligence memos.
    • Newnham, Robinson, St. John’s and Fitzwilliam have all publicly announced, for the first time, that they are partially divested from fossil fuels.
    • University of Oxford and Lombard Odier announced the launch of a new multi-year partnership to foster research and teaching on sustainable finance and investment, with a particular focus on climate change, circular economy and nature.
    • World Resources Institute’s investment committee approved a new Climate Change Investment Statement (CCIS) with a goal to align WRI’s endowment with the Paris Agreement. To advance this goal, WRI has committed to transition the portfolio to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 and to prioritize investments that support a just and resilient transition.
    • Will Colleges’ Shift to Sustainable Investing Continue Amid the Pandemic? - Coronavirus is not stopping academic institutions from leaning into socially responsible, environmentally conscious investing.
    • Inquiry into the Use of Diverse Asset Managers by College and University Endowments, and Related Diversity and Inclusion Practices - Congress members send inquiries to 25 colleges and universities asking for information regarding the participation of women and minority-owned asset management firms in the administration of endowment assets.
    • Pensions & Investments updated its US Endowment Returns Tracker with 2020 data (year ending June 30, 2020).
    • 2020: The year university endowments go green? - Recent developments show universities are thinking more about climate change in their endowments.

    View past issues of IEN’s weekly news summary online here.

    Received this email as a forward from a colleague? Subscribe to IEN's news updates here.

    If you have an original piece you would like to submit for an upcoming newsletter, or for more information about the Intentional Endowments Network and how you can support this work, please contact Hannah Bowen at [email protected].

     

     


  • published Young Leaders on Boards in Past Webinars 2021-01-13 12:09:58 -0500

    IEN Webinar: Across the Board - How Young People Lead on Climate

    Date: January 9, 2021 1:00p.m. ET

    60% of universities that have fully divested from fossil fuels or are fossil free have Board of Trustees seats reserved for students or recent alumni (link). As institutions seek to align their investments with their educational missions, young people with a seat at the table can add unique perspectives to their university’s investment practices and oversight.

    A collaboration between the Intentional Endowments Network and The Boarding School, this event gathers former Cornell and University of North Carolina at Asheville student-elected trustees to speak on their roles in their universities’ divestment decisions, and the experience of coalition-building as a young person in the boardroom. The panel will be followed by Q&A, discussion, and networking time.

    While the fossil fuel divestment movement has brought mission-related investment issues to the fore for endowments, this event does not focus or advocate for any one socially responsible investment approach, but rather explores how young perspectives can help universities better embody their missions in their investments and otherwise. This forum is for college and university students, alumni, investment professionals, trustees and senior administrators to engage in collaborative dialogue around strategies and best practices for meaningfully involving young people in board investment decision-making.

    Speakers:

    • Michael Davis, UNC Asheville Student Trustee, 2018-2019
    • Alexys Gilcreast, University of New Hampshire Committee on Investor Responsibility Member, 2017-2018
    • Dustin Liu, Cornell University Student-Elected Trustee, 2017-2019
    • Cohosts: Hannah Bowen, Intentional Endowments Network; Julia Huesa, The Boarding School

    Recording:

     

     

    Resources:


  • published Webinar CDP Investor Signatories in Past Webinars 2021-01-06 16:03:33 -0500

    IEN Webinar: How CDP Drives Environmental Action Through Its Investor Signatory Program

    Date: Thursday, January 14, 2021

    This webinar provides an overview of CDP’s Investor Signatory program and how participating asset owners and managers can leverage our disclosure database to support sustainability and climate-related investment goals.

    For over two decades, CDP has been driving environmental action through its disclosure system supported by its investor signatory network. CDP requests environmental disclosure data from thousands of organizations on behalf of its global group of 550+ Investor Signatories. The disclosure process allows organizations to improve transparency, and Investor Signatories are then able to use the data disclosed by companies on climate change, deforestation, and water security to engage with corporates and inform their investment decisions. Furthermore, CDP’s climate change dataset is fully TCFD aligned, allowing investors to access standardized and comparable TCFD-aligned data to identify risks and opportunities. 

    Participants of this session will learn:

    • What it means to be a CDP Investor Signatory
    • The cutting-edge ESG data and research reports available to Signatories
    • The various opportunities for Signatories to participate in our corporate engagement campaigns

    Recording:

    Resources:

    Speakers:

    Thomas Humphries - Account Manager, Capital Markets, CDP

    Tom manages many of CDP’s relationships with North American Investor Signatories, working on data analysis, communications strategy, corporate engagement campaign support, recruiting new Signatories, and otherwise promoting CDP's work to the capital markets. Previously, he was an economist with Climate Analytics, and has worked as an economic analyst for the UN’s economic monitoring unit and the Australian Government. He holds a degree in development economics and international finance from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

    Conor Hartnett - Project Officer, Capital Markets, CDP


  • published Manager Due Diligence in Resource Library 2020-10-05 16:03:49 -0400

    Due Diligence on Asset Managers

    General Tools for Assessing Asset Managers

    Sample Manager Due Diligence Questionnaires 

    Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

    • See here for resources on incorporating DEI in your due diligence process

    ESG Integration


  • published Learn About Endowments in Resource Library 2020-10-05 14:23:03 -0400

    Learn About Endowments

    What Is An Endowment, and How Does It Work?

    Watch an introductory webinar that describes the landscape of higher education endowments and how the size of an endowment impacts investment decisions and the decision-makers involved. Panelists cover how endowment distributions are used, the importance of balancing return expectations and volatility as they relate to both the long term investment horizon for the endowment and annual spending requirements, sources of donations and restrictions placed on the use of donations by donors, and asset allocation and its drivers. Finally, presenters discuss how sustainable investing (ESG, impact investing, divestment strategies, etc.) fits into this context and how to move the conversation about sustainable investing forward with endowment professionals on your campus.

  • published Sustainable Capitalism in Resource Library 2020-10-05 14:15:17 -0400

    What Is Sustainable Capitalism?

     

    Sustainable capitalism, as outlined in the resources below, is a re-imagined capitalism for the 21st century.

    Investing in Racial Equity: A Primer for College & University Endowments | IEN, August 2020

    Companies Must Take The Higher Road Toward A Sustainable Future | Ceres, February 2018

    Turning Point: Corporate Progress on the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability l Ceres, February 2018

    Responding to Megatrends: Investment Institutions Trend Index 2017 | PRI, December 2017

    The Transformation of Growth: How Sustainable Capitalism Can Drive a New Economic Order l Generation Foundation, June 2017

    The Value of Corporate Purpose: A Guide for CEOs and Entrepreneurs| KKS Advisors &  The Generation Foundation, May 2017

    CFA Institute Resources - a full library of over 100 papers and presentations addressing sustainable investing topics such as CEO pay to clean energy, green bonds and board diversity.


  • published Endowment Snapshots Report in Resources from IEN 2020-09-30 18:39:07 -0400

    2020 Endowment Snapshots Report


    Download the full report 

    IEN’s Endowment Snapshots are updated annually. In the past year, we’ve seen some encouraging trends in sustainable investment among higher education institutions. In 2019 and 2020, multiple schools announced their plans to fully divest from fossil fuels, including Brown University, Middlebury College, University of California, University of North Carolina Asheville, and University of Vermont.


    Fifteen Canadian universities signed on to a charter committing to increased efforts to address the climate crisis. Signatories of the charter pledged to incorporate ESG (environmental, social, governance) criteria into their investment processes and regularly measure the carbon intensity of their investment portfolios. Many of the schools featured in this report were also featured in IEN’s 2020 Financial Performance of Sustainable Investing case study. The study found that endowments utilizing sustainable investing practices performed as well as or better than endowments that employed a traditional investing approach.

     

    Download the full report or visit the snapshot pages online here.


Get up to date IEN News

Sign up for our Newsletters