In this issue of our newsletter, we share an exclusive Q&A article with industry experts who share their insight on opportunities within the private equity climate change arena and how managers and asset owners are measuring the impact of their investments.
We also share several updates from the network, including welcoming two new members to the IEN team, unveiling a new website, and highlighting the speakers and full agenda for the 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, taking place from February 10-12 in Tempe, AZ, where we are excited to connect with many of you.
As always, please be in touch with any questions, news or ideas for IEN.
The IEN Team
Q&A Article: Addressing Climate Change Through a Private Equity Lens, Making An Impact
“Climate change is an existential threat to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable,” Jim Yong Kim, former president of the World Bank Group, recently said. The World Bank Group is not alone in focusing on a more climate resilient future.
Climate change remains the most significant ESG issue for asset managers, who have more than doubled their investments to nearly $3 trillion into the space over the last two years, according to the U.S. SIF Foundation's biennial Report on U.S. Sustainable, Responsible, and Impact Investing Trends. Moreover, the report found that private equity and venture capital ESG assets under management more than doubled to $283 billion with 565 funds.
Given these investment trends, Intentional Endowments Network (IEN) talked with industry experts to gain insight on opportunities within the private equity climate change arena and, how managers and asset owners are measuring the impact of their investments. The specialists included:
Nancy Pfund & Ira Ehrenpreis, Managing Partners and Co-founders at DBL Partners, a double bottom line venture capital management firm pursuing both financial and social returns
Jared Fuller, Head of Private Capital and Real Assets Research team at Prime Buchholz, an investment consulting firm
Liqian Ma & Tom Mitchell, Managing Directors at Cambridge Associates, a global investment firm
Simba Ndemera, CFO, at the Sierra Club Foundation and Tim O’Donnell, Senior Vice President, Fund Evaluation Group, outsourced CIO, on behalf of the Sierra Club Foundation
Featured Event: Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit
Next week, we will gather in Tempe, AZ for the 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit!
Presented by the Intentional Endowments Network and Second Nature, the Summit is the premier event for college and university presidents, chancellors, trustees and endowment leaders focused on climate leadership by higher education. It is an opportunity to celebrate progress, and explore ways to scale local action to meet global goals by working across institutions and across sectors, including:
- The education and research priorities needed for a climate-safe future;
- Endowment investment strategies to reduce climate risk and advance climate solutions;
- Reducing campus emissions, through smart design, green building, renewable energy, and sustainable mobility;
- Partnering with communities, business, philanthropy, and policymakers to accelerate and scale climate solutions.
We are looking forward to hearing from an excellent line-up of speakers, including Jeremy Grantham, Janet Napolitano, Mustafa Ali, Kristina Johnson, Sandy Urie, and Michael Crow.
We look forward to connecting with many of you next week, and invite you to stay tuned for more information on next year's Summit, taking place in Atlanta, GA.
Additional Updates from the Network
New IEN Members
We are pleased to welcome Church Investment Group, The Catholic Impact Investing Collaborative (CIIC), Privos Capital, Arnerich Massena, Inc., Essex Investment Management, Pythia Capital, Impact Shares and Jensen Investment Management to the Network! To learn more about the leadership opportunities and benefits of IEN membership, click here.
IEN Welcomes Two New Team Members
We are pleased to announce the addition of two new IEN team members this winter -- Erina McWilliam-Lopez and Hannah Bowen. Erina is our new Membership Manager. Previously, she was the Founding Associate Director of the Social Impact Lab at Lynn University which offers experiential learning in corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, impact investing, conscious leadership, and intercultural competency. Hannah is our new Network Manager. Prior to joining IEN, Hannah supported a network of international development advocates as Director of the ACTION Secretariat, leading a team at RESULTS Educational Fund in Washington, DC and working together with the ACTION partnership's members across 5 continents to influence policy and mobilize resources for health equity. Read Hannah and Erina's full bios on the IEN Team page, and join us in giving them a warm welcome!
- Incorporating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Factors in the Investment Process
- Addressing Climate Risk & Investing in a Low-Carbon Future Across Asset Classes
New IEN Website
IEN Coordinates Successful NACUBO Webcast on Beneficial Long-Term Investing
In December 2018, IEN coordinated a webcast with NACUBO, introducing the Intentional Endowments Network and exploring how colleges and universities are achieving their risk and return objectives in their endowment portfolios while better aligning those portfolios with their institutions’ missions. The webcast was guided by the Roadmap for Intentionally Designed Endowments – a step by step process which grew out of the experiences of our network of colleges and universities.You can view the slides from the webcast here.
IEN Working Groups meet regularly to advance key strategies in support of the network's goals. Below is a brief update of what current Working Groups have accomplished.
Racial Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group: The Working Group, focused on improving endowment investment decision-making in higher education to better incorporate factors related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), has organized a number of activities in the past few months. The group hosted a webinar in November, recently conducted a survey to assess how IEN members incorporate DEI factors in their decision-making, and will host a session at the upcoming Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit. The session at the Summit will discuss strategies to bring DEI topics to the forefront of conversations around climate leadership and sustainable investing, focusing on the role of communities of color in addressing climate change and sustainability. If you are interested in participating in this group, please reach out to Kaede at [email protected].
Gender Lens Investing Working Group: Last Fall, in partnership with Suzanne Biegel, Founder of Catalyst at Large, IEN launched a new working group focused on gender lens investing (to increase returns and minimize risk, intentionally integrating gender as a factor in financial analysis). For the past few months, the working group has been developing a gender lens investing primer for college and university endowments to increase awareness of the favorable risk/return profiles of gender-influenced investments, and how this investing strategy fits into an overall intentional investing approach. If you are passionate about increasing higher education endowments investing with a gender lens, please reach out to Nicole at [email protected] for more information, and to join our next call.
Fiduciary Duty & Policy: Last Fall, this group produced a paper that guides endowment decision makers in finding an investment consultant to assist in incorporating ESG into their portfolio investment process. The paper, Hiring an Investment Consultant: Making Your ESG Intention Actionable, is available on our website. After publishing the paper, the working group turned its attention to fiduciary education. Topics discussed included fiduciaries as active owners, a behavioral governance framework and assessment instrument developed by 3Ethos, informed proxy voting, and partnering with AGB to sponsor a study on board formation, education, and diversity. A recent paper on the role of fiduciaries in proxy voting is available here. If you are interested in participating in this group, please reach out to Alice at [email protected].
SIILK (Sustainable & Impact Investing Learning and Knowledge) Network: IEN coordinates the SIILK Network, which brings together stakeholders involved with student-managed sustainable investing funds and sustainable investing curriculum development. Stakeholders include students, faculty, administrators, trustees, and financial professionals on campuses across the country. Participants share best practices, resources, curricula and undertake other activities to support sustainable investing education. If you are interested in connecting with these stakeholders to share best practices and advance the development of sustainably invested student-managed funds and sustainable finance curriculum, please reach out to Nicole at [email protected].
Shareholder Engagement: An email list has been created to share investor sign-on opportunities with working group members and other interested asset owners. Details of the sign-on opportunities and how to act upon them are also available under the 'Take Action' tab of our newly redesigned website. If you are interested in participating in this group or joining the list to receive sign-on opportunities, please reach out to Alice at [email protected].
- Trustee Peer Group: The Trustee Peer Group is currently focused on bringing new members into the group to create more opportunities for peer-to-peer learning among college and university fiduciaries on sustainable investing. The group was involved in two successful sessions at the AGB 2018 Foundation Leadership Forum, and the group has designed and will present a session for Trustees at The Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, taking place Feb. 10-12, 2019 in Tempe, AZ. If you are interested in participating in this group, please reach out to Tony at [email protected].
- 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit | February 10-12, 2019, Tempe, AZ
- Intentionally Designed Endowment Roundtable at Total Impact Philadelphia | May 2, 2019, Philadelphia, PA
- Investing for Impact l The Economist, February 12th, 2019, New York, NY
- 2019 Endowment and Debt Management Forum l NACUBO, February 13-15, 2019, New York, NY
- 9th Annual Practitioners Gathering l Confluence Philanthropy, March 4-7, 2019, Brooklyn, NY
- 5th Annual Responsible Investing Summit l Financial Research Associates, April 9-10, 2019, New York, NY
- The Fundamentals of the Opportunity Finance Industry Course l Center for Impact Finance & Opportunity Finance Network, April 10-12, 2019, Durham, NC
To view more upcoming events, click here.
Below are some recent resources from the Intentional Endowments Network and other organizations. To see more reports, articles, videos and other resources by topic, visit the resource page on our website.
Resources from IEN:
- Briefing Paper: Options for Endowment Investment in Solar Energy l The Intentional Endowments Network
- Hiring an Investment Consultant: Making Your ESG Intention Actionable l The Intentional Endowments Network
- 2018 Biennial Report on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends l The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment
- Going Mainstream: The Future of Impact Investing l Newsweek
- Addressing Climate Risks and Opportunities in the Investment Process l IIGCC
- The Climate Accountability Scorecard (2018) l The Union of Concerned Scientists
- Why and How Investors Can Respond to Income Inequality l The Investment Integration Project (TIIP)
- Emerging Practice in Long-Term Plans: How CEOs Talk About The Long-Term l CECP
- New Report Unpacks Why and How More Investments Can Unlock Big Potential For Refugees l Refugee Investment Network
- New Report Says Institutional Investors Are Making Room for Sustainable Investments l Digital Journal
- Apparel and Footwear 2018 Benchmark Findings Report l Know The Chain
- Winners of 2018 IRRC Institute Research Award Examine Pressing, Big Picture Investor Issues – Impact of Index Funds and Impact of Responsible Investing l Business Wire
- New Report Says Institutional Investors Are Making Room for Sustainable Investments l PR Newswire
- Report Details Two-Year Initiative to Pioneer Approach to Influencing the Stability of Environmental, Social, and Financial Systems l The Impact Investing Project
- The Private Sector’s Climate Change Risk and Adaptation Blind Spots l Nature
- Legal Risks to Investors From Forest Crime l Climate Advisers
- Improving Efficiency, Unlocking Returns: Transforming Corporate Resource Management l Boston Common Asset Management
In the News
Below is a sampling of recent news articles we've posted in our Weekly News Round-Up, ranging in topics from Sustainable, Impact and ESG Investing, Climate Risk, Science & Regulation, Sustainability in Higher Education, Divestment, Clean Energy, and more. To receive news updates directly in your inbox, manage your mailing preferences here.
IEN in the News:
- More Universities Looking to Put ESG Stamp on Billion-Dollar Endowment Funds l S&P Global Market Intelligence
- New Report from Intentional Endowments Network: Hiring an Investment Consultant l The Investment Integration Project (TIIP)
- Arnerich Massena Becomes an Intentional Endowments Network Member l Oregon Business
- Leading The (Carbon) Charge, Yalies Attend Global Climate Summit l Yale Daily News
- Middlebury Announces Energy2028 Plan to Address Threat of Climate Change l Middlebury
- Gonzaga University Trustees Approve Socially Responsible Investment Strategy l Gonzaga University
- Canadian Pension Steps Up Gender Board Diversity Advocacy l Chief Investment Officer
- San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System Becomes Major ESG Force l Chief Investment Officer
- Frequently Asked Questions on Stanford's Investment Responsibility l Stanford News
- Yale May Consider Exiting Private Funds in Social Investment Shift| Bloomberg
- BlackRock Joins with Wespath to Widen Its Low-Carbon Strategy | Financial Times
- This Family Foundation Wants to Inspire Philanthropists to Consider Impact Investing l The Triple Pundit
- CalSTRS Hires Director of Corporate Governance l CalSTRS
- CalSTRS Divests from Prisons l Prison Industry Divestment Movement
- CalPERS Makes ESG Changes l Chief Investment Officer
- Pension Funds Point Finger at Lobbyists of Polluting Companies l Bloomberg
- Largest US Community Foundation Sees Opportunity Zone Program Role l Chief Investment Officer
- Board of Trustees Vote to Fully Divest Whitman College from the Fossil Fuel Industry l Whitman Wire
- How Can Foundations Influence Investors? Just Ask! l McKnight Foundation
- Ireland's Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill to be Signed into Law l Highland Radio
- Brandeis University Trustees Make Long-Awaited Divestment Choice l The Justice
- New York State Common to add $3 Billion to Sustainable Investment Program l Pensions & Investments
- University of Guelph Sidesteps Demands For Full fossil Fuel Divestment With Partial Carbon Cut l Financial Post
- Another Swedish Pension Fund Makes Huge ESG-Focused Divestment l Chief Investment Officer
- Guggenheim, WWF Publish Guidelines for Sustainable Infrastructure Investing l Benefits Canada
- UN Pension’s Journey in Sustainability l Top 1000 Funds
- The Key to Winning Victories Against Big Oil? Perseverance l The Guardian
- Amherst College Announcement on Climate Action Plan l Amherst College
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 Nicole Torrico at [email protected].