Julia Cedarholm

  • signed up on Mailing Lists 2021-06-10 09:23:43 -0400

  • Active Ownership in the Endowment: Warren Wilson College Case Study

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    Warren Wilson College (WWC), a liberal arts institution located in Swannanoa, North Carolina, has established itself as a leader in environmental and social sustainability. From building the first LEED Platinum certified building on a college campus in 2003 to experiential learning on its 110 acre organic farm, WWC has fully integrated sustainability into all sectors of campus life and college operations. These efforts have resulted in WWC receiving several sustainability awards including Sierra Club’s 2007-2019 “Cool School” award and a Gold STARS rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in 2020.

    In the past 5 years, WWC has focused on intentionally applying environmental sustainability and social equity lenses to the management of its financial assets. In 2015, WWC’s student fossil fuel divestment campaigns motivated the school to reevaluate its endowment portfolio. Recognizing a misalignment between its core values and investments, WWC publicly committed to divest from fossil fuels within five years and to begin fully integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into the investment process.

    In 2019, WWC began exploring active ownership as a way to expand the positive societal and environmental impact of its investments, while also reducing risks and maximizing returns in its endowment portfolio. Active ownership is one of the fastest growing responsible investment strategies. The Principles for Responsible Investing (PRI) defines active ownership as the use of rights and position of ownership to influence the activities or behavior of investee companies.1 It is a form of stewardship that allows investors to influence companies on their management of environmental, social, and governance risks and opportunities. In addition to investors mobilizing capital for positive impact by driving responsible corporate practices, active ownership is integral to fiduciary duty as it considers businesses’ long-term systemic risks.

    In efforts to increase WWC’s active ownership practices, WWC’s ESG Advisory Committee engaged IEN to explore shareholder engagement strategies. With support from IEN’s Shareholder Engagement Working Group members and staff, WWC was able to actively vote all its proxies in its separately managed equity accounts and co-file three shareholder resolutions in support of environmentally responsible and socially equitable corporate practices. This collaboration provided WWC with the necessary knowledge and experience to continue leveraging its shareholder voice to influence companies’ practices. In the coming years, IEN plans to increasingly support endowments in embracing their role as active owners. 





    Development of this case study was a collective effort of the Intentional Endowments Network and Warren Wilson College.The following people played critical roles in the research, writing, and review of this document:


    Hannah Bowen, Network Manager, IEN
    Alice DonnaSelva, Managing Director, IEN
    Ben Linthicum, ESG Advisory Committee Chair, Warren Wilson College
    Brian Liechti, Director of Sustainability, Warren Wilson College
    Julia Maloney, Graduate Fellow, IEN
    Anthony Rust, Investment Committee Chair, Warren Wilson College



  • published Climate Goals in Climate Investing 2020-10-12 13:46:38 -0400

    Climate Goals

    Endowments Goals

    • Net Zero Portfolios - committed to net zero emissions from all portfolio holdings by 2050 at the latest, and strong interim goals, especially for 2025 and 2030 inline with 
    • Explicitly connect climate action with social equity, recognizing that addressing inequality is essential to averting the climate crisis; recognizing that marginalized and vulnerable communities are most at risk to climate impacts; and protecting against climate solutions that inadvertently reinforce or amplify inequality.  

    Consultant Goals

    • Support AOs on Net Zero Portfolio commitments-transparency, emissions measurement,
    • Evaluate managers’ capability and intent to create  Net Zero portfolios 
    • Require that recommended managers have an engagement plan with the companies in which they invest around the company goals below.
    • Explicitly connect climate action with social equity

    Manager Goals 

    • Align strategies to Net Zero goals
    • Have engagement strategies with companies to meet Net Zero goals 
    • Explicitly connect climate action with social equity

    Company Goals

    • Paris aligned, science-based targets + transition pathways to Net Zero by 2050 latest and strong interim goals, especially for 2025 
    • TCFD - transparency and disclosure  
    • Board accountability (and climate competence on Board), and senior management compensation tied to meeting climate goals 
    • Explicitly connect climate action with social equity

  • published Net Zero Endowments in Net Zero Portfolios 2020-10-12 13:46:27 -0400

    Net Zero Endowments Initiative

    Net Zero Portfolios are an effective and powerful way for investors to reduce risks associated with climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy.  They also accelerate corporate climate action to reduce systemic risk for all investors and to protect current and future generations from climate impacts. 

    A commitment to Net Zero means committing to transition the investment portfolio to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 consistent with a maximum temperature rise of 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures, taking into account the best available scientific knowledge including the findings of the IPCC, and regularly reporting on progress, including establishing intermediate targets every five years in line with Paris Agreement Article 4.9. 

    Social equity is central to the need to address the climate crisis.  Marginalized communities, disproportionately Communities of Color, are often the most vulnerable to climate impacts.  To ensure an equitable and just transition, climate solutions must be viewed from a holistic perspective to ensure all communities are protected and have opportunities to benefit from the wealth generated in creating a new economy.   

    IEN convenes and supports endowments in learning about Net Zero Portfolios, making commitments, and participating in shareholder engagement efforts to get portfolio companies onto decarbonization pathways aligned with the 1.5 degree C warming target of the Paris Climate Agreement.  

    If you or your organization would like to learn more or participate in this initiative, please contact Georges Dyer at [email protected] 


    Net Zero Endowments Steering Committee

    • Agnes Terestchenko, Executive Director, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS)
    • Carol Jeppesen, Head of US, Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
    • Chris Matteini, Analyst, Lead on Sustainable Investments, TIFF
    • Chuck O'Reilly, CIO, University of Toronto Asset Management (UTAM)
    • Cornelia Horner, Strategic Initiatives and Communications Lead, the University of Virginia Investment Management Company (UVIMCO)
    • Delicia Nahman, Director of Sustainability, Lafayette College
    • Grace Eddy, Director, Generation Foundation
    • Henry Lancaster, Director, HBCU Green Fund; and Trustee, Lincoln University (PA)
    • Jeff Mindlin, CIO, Arizona State University
    • Jouni Korhonen, Trustee and Chair, Investment Committee, Lewis & Clark College
    • Julianna Brunini, Associate Director of Research and Research Analyst, Terra Alpha Investments
    • Kaede Kawauchi, Manager (Investor Network), Ceres
    • Kate Murtagh, Managing Director, Sustainable Investing and Chief Compliance Officer, Harvard Management Company
    • Kelly Green, Financial Advisor, Institutional Consultant, Graystone Consulting
    • Lindsey White, Director of Programs, CREO
    • Madeline Clark, Associate Investment Director, Sustainable & Impact Investing, Cambridge Associates
    • Meredith Heimburger (Partner, Head of Impact) & Pu-Ning Chiang (Impact Investments Analyst), Global Endowment Management (GEM)
    • Pedro Henriques da Silva, Director, Shifting Trillions, Sierra Club Foundation
    • Rachel Robascotti, Founder & CEO, Adasina Social Capital
    • Sarah Wilson, Managing Director, Head of ESG Integration, Nuveen
    • Sheldon Gen, Investment Committee Chair, San Francisco State University Foundation
    • Tamara Larsen, Partner, US ESG Investments Practice LeaderMercer, and IC member, David Rockefeller Fund
    • Tim Coffin, Director of Sustainability, Member of Consultant Relations Team, Sustainability Committee Chair, Breckinridge Capital Advisors
    • Tracy Gray, Trustee, CSU Dominguez Hills Foundation
    • Victoria-Mei Zummo, Governance, Compliance & ESG Analyst, McGill University
    • Yale Loh, Treasurer, University of British Columbia

    Net Zero Groups and Initiatives


    Net Zero Commitments by Endowments: 


    IEN Net Zero Endowment Briefing Paper

    Briefing Paper: Net Zero Endowments to Address the Climate Crises and Lead a Just Transition | IEN (July 2021)

    This briefing paper provides endowment decision-makers and their service providers with an introductory, high-level overview of net zero portfolio commitments. It provides clarity on what it means to have a net zero commitment; what making and implementing such a commitment entails; and shares key resources, initiatives, and groups involved in the space. 



    White Paper 

    Leading with Justice: Net Zero Investing & Conversations on Climate Justice | IEN and GEM (February 2022)

    This paper is a result of the efforts by a subcommittee of IEN's Net Zero Endowments Steering Committee to explore climate justice and aims to do three things: provide a background and working definition of climate justice; argue that climate justice is central to reaching net-zero goals; and provide practical methods to implementing climate justice. 



    Sampling of other IEN Net Zero Endowment activities: 

    • The Net Zero Asset Owners Alliance | NZ Asset Owners Alliance, Zurich Insurance (October 2020) 

    • Introductory roundtable conversation on Harvard’s Net Zero Commitment with endowments totaling over $95 billion in assets (held under Chatham House Rule, no recording available) (July 2020)


    Key Frameworks & Protocols


    Other Net Zero Resources 


    Investors committing to net zero are proactively positioning their portfolios for a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy.  As the cost of clean alternatives to fossil fuels declines and consumers increasingly recognize the need to shift, carbon-intensive companies risk losing value, and fossil fuel companies that are not leading a just transition risk stranding assets.  Further, research from the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) on the Inevitable Policy Response forecasts that governments will implement a climate-policy response by 2025 that will be “forceful, abrupt, and disorderly because of the delay.” 

    The September 2020 report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commissions (CFTC) titled Managing Climate Risks to the US Financial System underscored the risks associated with climate change to the financial system, the economy, and investors.  Its top recommendation was for Congress to establish a price on carbon. It also found that:

    “the financial system can itself be a catalyst for investments that accelerate economic resilience and the transition to a net-zero emissions economy. Financial innovations, in the form of new financial products, services, and technologies, can help the U.S. economy better manage climate risk and help channel more capital into technologies essential for the transition.” 

    Endowments and other asset owners have a critical role to play by proactively pursuing net-zero portfolio -- to protect their capital, reduce systemic risk, and minimize the damage and suffering of climate impacts.  



    This initiative is generously supported by:


    Lead Sponsors





    Supporting Sponsors





  • published Social Equity Goals in Investing in Social Equity 2020-10-12 13:46:14 -0400

    Social Equity Goals


    • Commit to discussing social equity at the next investment committee meeting  to have conversations necessary to assess how your investments provide solutions to or perpetuate racial, gender, and other forms of inequality.
    • Conduct bias training as perceptions of race and gender can inform both business and investment operations through hiring and retention, manager selection and risk assessment
    • Diversify the Board and the Investment Committee to bring in new insights, spur new approaches and expand networks - gender, culture and race diversity
    • Update your Investment Policy Statement to reflect your diversity and inclusion (D&I) priorities 
    • Allocate capital to racially diverse consultants and asset management firms to diversify talent and deal flow and improve the investment’s risk and return profile.
    • Engage with consultants or ask your asset and investment managers about their approach to internal D&I and how they factor race and social identity into their economic projections.
    • Ensure that institutions they bank with  provide financial services to help low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people in their communities or Bank with a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) .
    • Engage with companies as a shareholder on issues that relate directly to diversity, equity, and inclusion such as those requesting that companies connect executive pay to diversity and inclusion related outcomes.  (see company goals for other engagement focus)
    • Offer internships in the Investment Office for underrepresented students to aid in diversifying the financial management and investment field, and/or create a student-managed fund focused on diversity and inclusion of the team as well as investment strategy. 
    • Develop partnerships with groups that are helping to expand the ability of women and minorities to learn about and participate in financial management and investment.
    • Use investor voice to advance public policy that addresses inequality through investor statements, public comments, and collective action, advocate for policies that seek to reform and eliminate systemic racism, wealth, and gender inequality in law and public policy.
    • Take a holistic approach to addressing inequality recognizing the intersectionality with climate change and environmental issues, and the many social factors related to inequality (jobs, health, education, food justice, etc.)  


    • As above, Keep social equity on the agenda; Conduct bias training; Diversify your own organization; Advocate for public policy; Diverse internship programs; Develop partnerships; Bank with CDFIs; Take a holistic approach, recognizing intersectionality. 
    • Create a Diverse Asset Managers program that includes evaluating your due diligence process to address implicit bias and other barriers that may be limiting the number of diverse managers that are included on recommended lists; has specific annual targets for percentage of recommended managers and provides feedback to managers as to why they were or were not selected. 
    • Client engagement: Advance learning and action on social equity with your clients 
    • Market research: Include the impacts of inequality on the economy in your market research.

    Investment Managers:

    • As above, Keep social equity on the agenda; Conduct bias training; Diversify your own organization; Advocate for public policy; Diverse internship programs; Develop partnerships; Bank with CDFIs; Take a holistic approach, recognizing intersectionality. 
    • Integrate the impacts of inequality into your investment philosophy across asset classes, sectors, and themes.  
    • Engage with companies as a shareholder on issues that relate directly to diversity, equity, and inclusion such as those requesting that companies connect executive pay to diversity and inclusion related outcomes. (see company goals for other engagement focus)


    • Increase the number of women and people of color on Boards, senior management (#s, %)
    • Report on and address the racial and gender pay gap (% off parity) 
    • Tie DEI goals to financial compensation for senior management 
    • Provide living wages (regional living wage standards)
    • Elevate Worker Voice
    • Develop and improve Mentorship programs
    • Develop and improve Internship programs

  • published Mobilize Capital in Take Action 2020-10-05 15:40:56 -0400

  • published IEN's Focus Areas in About 2020-10-01 14:41:31 -0400

    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:

    Social Equity Investing 

    Climate Investing

    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

    Learn more.


    Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI) 

    Educating and supporting endowments in considering diversity, equity, and inclusion factors at all levels of the investment process.

    Learn more.

    Investment Governance

    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.

    Learn more.

    Shareholder Engagement 

    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.

    Learn more.

    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.

    Learn more.

    Sustainable Retirements 

    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.

    Learn more.


  • published Engaging Corporations in IEN's Focus Areas 2020-11-24 09:30:47 -0500

    Engaging Corporations to Advance Racial Equity and a Net Zero World


    How do you ensure that corporations are taking actions that align with their public commitments to racial justice and emissions reductions?

    IEN is convening and supporting endowments to leverage their position as asset owners to put pressure on the companies in their investment portfolio. Potential areas of engagement include improving disclosure on climate risk and inequality, reducing GHG emissions, adopting science-based targets, and enacting anti-discrimination strategies for gender and racial equity.


    Take Action


    Shareholder Engagement Resources 



    We partner with the following organizations to advance racial equity and a net zero economy through engagement.


    Learn more about our Social Equity and Climate investing work.

  • Creating Intentionally Designed Endowments

    IEN supports endowed institutions in creating intentionally designed endowments- those that seek to enhance financial performance by making investments that advance an equitable, low carbon, and regenerative economy. 

    Roadmap for endowments.

    Our interactive roadmap for intentionally designed endowments guides endowed institutions and their service providers on advancing mission-aligned, sustainable investing.

    Learn more.

    Join the Trustee Peer Learning Group

    This working group connects trustees to create opportunities for peer-to-peer learning among college and university fiduciaries on sustainable investing.

    Learn more.

    Join the Fiduciary Duty & Policy

    This working group develops 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.

    Learn more.

  • Inspiring the Next Generation of Sustainable Investors

    IEN works to ensure higher education institutions develop the next generation of leaders committed to a sustainable economy through:

    The SIILK Network

    The SIILK Network (Sustainable & Impact Investing Learning & Knowledge) is a peer learning network of students, faculty, and staff that are involved in the management and development of student-managed investment funds, as well as the teaching and development of sustainable investing curriculum. SIILK participants connect to share best practices and resources to advance sustainable investing strategies in student-managed funds and curricula.

    The ESG For Impact Conference Scholarship 

    IEN and the Crane Institute are pleased to support and help administer The ESG For Impact Conference Scholarship. The scholarship was started and is coordinated by a group of First Affirmative Financial Network alumni and longtime affiliates, with the goal of offering full scholarships to a diverse group of qualified students and young professionals who are interested in a career as a sustainable investment professional.

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