McGill University is a public university, founded in 1821, and is one of Canada’s best-known institutions of higher learning and one of the leading universities in the world. McGill has a student body of over 39,000 students across 11 faculties. McGill’s endowment, managed through the McGill Investment Pool (MIP), is managed by McGill’s Office of Investments under the direction of the Investment Committee. The Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility advises the Board on matters concerning social responsibility related to University endowment investments within the mandate of the Investment Committee.
In 2020, McGill’s Board of Governors approved an ambitious action plan to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of its endowment investments. Among other commitments, McGill committed to reduce the carbon footprint of the MIP public equity portfolio by 33 percent relative to the MIP public equities benchmark by 2025, increase its impact investing by committing 5% to low-carbon funds by 2025, continue to increase the number of University fund managers who adhere to an environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) policy and/or are signatories of the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI), further its leadership role in the area of socially responsible investment and amend its Statement of Investment Policy to consider ESG commitments.
In 2020, McGill, along with other Canadian universities, signed Investing to Address Climate Change: A Charter for Canadian Universities. Signatories of the charter pledge to adopt a responsible investing framework, regularly calculate the carbon footprint of their investment portfolio, publicly share progress and results in achieving sustainability goals, and evaluate fund managers based on their compliance with the guidelines set forth in the charter.
McGill recognizes and embraces the unique responsibility of universities to support societies in their transition toward sustainability, by generating the knowledge needed to create a more sustainable future, as well as cultivating citizens and leaders who have the skills and commitment to put that knowledge into practice. Adopting a more carbon-conscious investment approach complements McGill’s far-reaching climate change and sustainability goals, including institution-wide efforts to achieve carbon neutrality across the University’s operations by 2040.