University of Toronto
Endowment Value: CAD $3.15 billion (2021)
The University of Toronto is a public research university located in Toronto, Ontario. UT has a student body of over 88,000 students across 11 colleges. The University of Toronto Asset Management Corp. (UTAM) oversees the University's endowment. The Responsible Investing Committee (RIC) oversees all matters relating to the development and implementation of UTAM’s responsible investing practices and is composed of senior leaders at UTAM.
In order to promote the many sustainable projects and programs on UT’s campus, the university publishes a Sustainability Yearbook. The 2018 yearbook highlighted programs such as Bikechain (a do-it-yourself bike shop) and the replacement of gas-powered equipment with new battery-powered equipment. The University of Toronto does not simply want to be sustainable. They also want to educate their students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community on the importance of sustainability and how each individual can make a difference.
According to ATUM’s responsible investing policy, established in 2016, ESG factors play an integral part of its investment analysis and decision-making processes, including the selection of investment managers, transparency, and shareholder engagement. Since becoming a signatory of the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in 2016, several UTAM investment officers have joined PRI advisory committees.
The University of Toronto has an active Global 350.org chapter, Toronto 350.org, that has been urging the administration to divest from fossil fuels since 2014. It has played a significant role in sparking debate around divestment.
In response to The University of Toronto's 2016 decision not to divest from fossil fuels, President Meric Gertler provided a Q&A session regarding the University's decision and discussed its new 14-point plan to address climate change and include ESG factors in the university’s investment strategy. The plan includes a commitment to invest $750,000 over the next three years to foster innovations in teaching and curriculum focused on climate change.
In February 2020, the University of Toronto announced its plan to reduce the carbon footprint of its long-term investments. The university hopes to reduce its carbon footprint by 40% by 2030. UT will report on its progress in achieving this goal as investment decisions are made.
In June 2020, the University of Toronto joined fifteen other Canadian universities in signing a charter committing to increased efforts to address the climate crisis. Signatories of the charter pledge to adopt an SRI investing policy, regularly calculate the carbon footprint of their investment portfolios, 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.
The University of Toronto is a participant or member of the following Initiatives & Commitments:
- AASHE STARS: No
- ACUPCC: No
- Billion Dollar Green Challenge: No
- CDP: Yes
- Committee on Investor Responsibility: Yes
- Divestment Goal: Yes, divestment from fossil fuels
- INCR: No
- Montreal Carbon Pledge: Yes
- Sustainable Investment Fund: No
- Responsible Investment Policy: Yes
- Principles for Responsible Investment: Yes
Other Sustainable Investing Practices:
- Universities sign U of T-led responsible investment charter to help address climate change (2020)
- Annual Responsible Investing Report (2018)
- UTAM Joins the Global Climate Action 100+ Initiative (December 2017)
- U of T’ s Asset Management Responsible Investing page
- Q&A With the President of The University of Toronto Meric Gertler: Beyond Divestment (March 2016)
- Sustainability at U of T