IEN focuses on addressing inequality and the climate crisis as they are systemic risks that threaten a thriving society.
Wealth, gender, and racial inequality threaten our societal and economic stability.
- The wealth of the 22 richest men in the world is more than that of all women in Africa combined.
- Globally, women earn an average of $11,000 annually, compared to men who earn an average of $20,000.
- In the U.S., Black families own $10 or less for every $100 in wealth owned by a white family.
The climate crisis threatens to cause catastrophic damage to human life, ecosystem integrity, economic prosperity, and business success.
- Air pollution kills 4.5 million people per year.
- Hundreds of millions of people are at risk of forced relocation, further accelerating trends of mass migration, political destabilization, and economic disparities.
- The fossil fuel industry forecasts growth rates of under 1% a year and has large up-front capital expenditures, leading to low return rates.
Inequality and the climate crisis are inextricably linked and interconnected.
- 71% of Black families live in counties violating federal air pollution standards compared to 58% of white families.
- Formerly redlined communities today have half as many trees as highly rated predominantly white neighborhoods do, leading to temperature differences of as much as 20 degrees and higher levels of heat exposure, which can often prove deadly for residents.
- Black and Latinx families have a higher likelihood of living in areas most damaged by climate disasters, but have limited access to affordable insurance, the means for recovery or relocation.
Learn how to take concrete steps to address inequality and the climate crisis:
Address these focus areas by joining an IEN Initiative.
IEN Initiatives offer a forum where IEN Members can engage in topical conversations, build their professional networks and expertise, feel comfortable sharing successes, challenges, and requests for support, and developing resources and tools to advance the field.
More information on each current Initiative, including ways to get involved, is below.
Net Zero Endowments
Committing to a Net Zero investment portfolio as an effective and powerful way to reduce risks associated with climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy
Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI)
Educating and supporting endowments in considering diversity, equity, and inclusion factors at all levels of the investment process.
Connecting trustees to create opportunities for peer-to-peer learning among college and university fiduciaries on sustainable investing and developing documents and other vehicles to clarify for higher education trustees how sustainable investing strategies relate to their fiduciary duties, designed for audiences of trustees, presidents, CIO's, and CFO's.
Developing a strategy to share information with endowments on how to effectively use their rights as corporate share owners to engage portfolio companies on governance and sustainability concerns about accountability, transparency, the environment and social justice.
Sustainable & Impact Investing Learning and Knowledge (SIILK)
The SIILK Network connects student-managed fund advisors, academics focused on sustainable investing, and students involved in student-managed funds to share best practices and resources to advance sustainable investing curriculum and strategies in each fund.
Approximately 4,500 colleges and universities in the US alone represent a tremendous pool of retirement assets - totaling over $900 billion - that must be safeguarded from sustainability risks. This group works to support institutions in ensuring retirement options take material ESG factors into consideration.