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We have been saying for a while now that 2020 needs to be a transformative year for action on climate and inequality, and so far it’s off to a strong start!
In IEN’s first newsletter of 2020, we share an original Q&A article interviewing experts about managing public equity portfolios through a climate risk lens, reflections from IEN Trustee Working Group member Mike Fiorio on why mission-aligned investing is critical for schools to continue attracting students and faculty, and a recorded webinar to help you prepare for actively participating in the Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit - if you aren’t among the 290+ leaders who have already registered, there’s still time to register this week before the final price increase on February 8th.
The IEN Team
Member Post: Hope Is Not a Strategy
In this blog post, Mike Fiorio, a Trustee at Northland College and member of IEN’s Trustee Peer Learning Group, argues that action to divest from fossil fuels in the endowment portfolio is critical to both the existence of our colleges and to the planet. He shares the experience of Northland’s Investment Committee, which concluded this was the right move from many perspectives – fulfilling their mission, aligning with their values, attracting the best students, and protecting their endowment capital in both the short- and long-term. Read the full post here.
Register now for the premier gathering of higher education leaders driving responses to the climate crisis - before rates increase on February 8th! Take a look at the overall program agenda, as well as a detailed agenda for the Endowment Investing Forum taking place within the Summit, on February 25th. The growing list of over 290 participants includes over 60 college/university Presidents, Trustees, CFOs, and CIOs.
Q&A Article: Managing Public Equity Portfolios through a Climate Risk Lens
As the systemic financial risks posed by climate change become increasingly apparent, the need to address the potential impacts of environmental shifts has become that much more imperative. In November 2019, Federal Reserve Governor Brainard noted that the Fed must consider climate change when contemplating monetary policy. Further, in September New York state’s financial regulator joined the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), a global coalition of 46 central banks and regulators dedicated to address climate change. Nearly $20 trillion in global assets are at risk if a timely transition to a low-carbon global economy fails, according to the NGFS.
Given the global equities market capitalization was nearly $75 trillion in 2018, according to SIFMA, the Intentional Endowments Network approached public equity industry experts regarding their perspective on the impact of climate change on equity portfolios. Such investors included:
- Anthony Rust, Investment Committee Chair, Warren Wilson College
- Amberjae Freeman, Chief Operating Officer, Etho Capital
- Habib Subjally, Senior Portfolio Manager and Head of Global Equities and Ben Yeoh, Senior Portfolio Manager, RBC Asset Management
Read the full Q&A here.
Additional Updates from the Network
New IEN Members
We are pleased to welcome Delta College, TIFF, Concordia University, Davy Global Fund Management, and Marilyn Waite to the Network! To learn more about the leadership opportunities and benefits of IEN membership, click here.
IEN Team News
In February, IEN's Membership Manager, Erina McWilliam-Lopez will be moving on from the Network and embarking on a new phase in her career; leveraging her commitment to bridging social justice with investing through her new role with Impact Experience and her passion for entrepreneurship in building a vegan snack company called Bliss Bites, LLC which will be launched at local farmer’s markets in the Boston area this coming summer.
A big THANK YOU to Erina for all of your work ensuring the growth and evolution of our membership programming. For questions about membership benefits, renewals, or referring potential new members, please reach out to any member of the team or [email protected].
IEN Members Gather at Peer Learning Events Around the Country
- Last week, IEN staff and members hosted sessions on sustainable investing at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) Foundation Leadership Forum in San Diego.
- Keep an eye out for IEN members at the GreenFin Summit at GreenBiz 20 or NACUBO’s 2020 Endowment and Debt Management Forum this week, or take advantage of the IEN member discount to attend Investing for Impact: 2020 Vision from The Economist Events on February 13th.
Last week, IEN hosted our first webinar of the year. Follow the link to view the recording:
- IEN Pre-Summit Webinar: Climate Risk and Fiduciary Best Practice | January 30, 2020
Please let us know which topics you would most like to hear from members about in this year’s webinar series!
Online Peer Networking
Our first Community Conversation of 2020 will take place on March 11th at 12pm EST, two weeks after the Higher Ed Climate Leadership Summit, and provide IEN members with an opportunity to reflect on their action plans coming out of the Summit as well as connect with peers - register here for log-in details.
We will also be hosting a new member orientation Community Conversation in April - stay tuned for more details.
SIILK (Sustainable & Impact Investing Learning and Knowledge) Network
If you are interested in connecting with stakeholders to share best practices and advance the development of sustainably invested student-managed funds and sustainable finance curriculum at your college or university, please reach out to Nicole at [email protected].
Sustainable Retirements: ESG Options for Retirement Plans
Thank you to those who completed the survey that will help shape this new initiative. Initial findings will be discussed during a pre-Summit Workshop on Sunday February 23rd (more details here). If you are interested in participating in this new initiative, please reach out to Georges at [email protected]. Supported by Natixis and Schroders
IEN Working Groups meet regularly to advance key strategies in support of the network's goals. Please contact an IEN team member to get involved in a Working Groups in 2020:
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group: This group continues to organize calls every 1-2 months to exchange resources and collaborate for action on advancing DEI lens integration in endowment investing practices. The WG is moving forward with developing a DEI Primer and making plans to launch additional sustainable investing fellowships. If you are interested in participating in this group, please reach out to Kaede at [email protected].
Gender Lens Investing Working Group: If you are passionate about increasing the number of 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 (approximately quarterly).
Fiduciary Duty & Policy Working Group: This group recently hosted a pre-Summit webinar to put sustainable investing in fiduciary context for attendees of the 2020 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit. They have also been landscaping the opportunities for training for endowment fiduciaries in being an effective fiduciary in the 21st century. If you are interested in participating in this group, please reach out to Alice at [email protected].
Shareholder Engagement Working Group: This group has re-organized with over 20 members including non-profit shareholder advocacy groups, endowments, students and asset managers who have been collaborating on action to address the newly proposed SEC shareholder advocacy and proxy voting rules. Please reach out to Alice at [email protected] if you are interested in participating in this group or learning more about the proposed rules and our actions to protect shareholder engagement.
- Trustee Peer Group: The trustee peer group has been sharing insights on the governance and implementation processes for sustainable investing by endowments, and connecting with peers on other Boards that are undertaking these processes. If you are a trustee and interested in participating in this group, please reach out to Georges at [email protected].
- 2020 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit | Intentional Endowments Network and Second Nature, February 23-25, 2020, Atlanta, GA. Registration is live - and the agenda for the Endowment Investing Forum within the summit has been posted here!
- GreenFin Summit at GreenBiz 20 | GreenBiz, February 4-6, 2020, Phoenix, AZ, IEN Members can use a Discount Code to receive 10% off registration.
- 2020 Endowment and Debt Management Forum | NACUBO, February 5-7, 2020, Washington, DC
- Investing for Impact: 2020 Vision | Economist Events, February 13, 2020, New York, NY. IEN members are eligible for discounted registration - register here with a discount code for 15% off standard ticket prices.
- The Case for Deforestation Free Investing | Friends of the Earth and As You Sow, February 19, 1-2pm EST (webinar)
- Confluence Philanthropy’s 10th Annual Practitioners Gathering | February 25-27, 2020, San Juan, Puerto Rico
- 2020 Proxy Resolutions and Voting Guide Overview Webinar | ICCR, February 27, 11:30am-12:30pm ET (webinar)
- Washington & Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference | Social Enterprises, March 2-4, 2020, Eugene, Oregon, IEN Members can use a Discount Code to receive 30% off the cost of registration.
- Investor Summit on Climate Risk and Ceres Conference | Ceres, March 23-26, 2020, New York, NY
- Croatan Forum 2020 | Croatan Institute, April 27-29, 2020, Durham, NC. The Scholarship Application for the 2020 Croatan Forum is now online. Learn more about the scholarships here, or you can make a donation to support an applicant here.
- 2020 MIE National Conference: Amplifying Impact | Mission Investors Exchange, May 11-13, 2020, Atlanta GA
- ESG Investment Europe | Reuters Events, May 27-28, London, UK
- 2020 AASHE Conference and Expo | AASHE, October 4-7, 2020, Milwakee, WI. Call for proposals open until February 28th.
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:
- Endowment Watch | Diverse Asset Managers Initiative
- The State of Impact Measurement and Management Practice, Second Edition | GIIN
- A Summary of Climate Change Science for Investors | Cambridge Associates
- The MSCI Principles of Sustainable Investing | MSCI
- Investors and the Blue Economy | Responsible Investor Research and Credit Suisse
- The 2020 State of Green Business Report | Greenbiz
- Solar with Justice: Strategies for Powering Up Under-Resourced Communities and Growing an Inclusive Solar Market | Clean Energy States Alliance
- Asset Managers and Climate Change: How the Sector Performs on Portfolios, Engagement and Resolutions | InfluenceMap
- Investing in Nature: Private Finance for Nature-based Resilience | Environmental Finance
- Running the Risk: How Corporate Boards Can Oversee Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Issues | Ceres
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:
- Hope Is Not a Strategy | IEN Blog
- What's Pushing U.S. Banks Deeper into ESG | American Banker
- Managing an Endowment Requires Eco-Consciousness | Wake Forest Old Gold and Black
- The Top ESG Papers of 2019 | Savvy Investor
- HSU Foundation Expands Social- and Eco-Conscious Investments | Humboldt State University
- Some Universities Are Shifting Their Endowments to More Low-carbon Investments | University Affairs
- Barnard Shares Climate Action Vision Progress, Releases Divestment Report | Columbia Spectator
- McGill University to Decrease Carbon Intensity of Investment Portfolio | McGill
- UBC Announces Fossil Fuel Divestment Plan | BIV
- Cambridge Joins Launch of ‘Responsible Investment’ Network | Varsity
- Half of UK Universities Have Committed to Divest from Fossil Fuel | The Guardian
- Rhode Island to Divest from Private Prisons, Gun Makers | AP
- Connecticut Moves to Embrace ‘First-of-its-Kind’ Gun Divestment Policy | Chief Investment Officer
- The Cost of Divestment for Endowments | Institutional Investor
- When Actions Speak Louder Than Lobbying | Inside Higher Ed
- Why Duke University Gave a Group of Students $100,000 to Use on Investments | The News & Observer
- Learning by Doing Is the Future of Impact Investing Education | The Wharton School
- Concordia Launches Canada’s First Sustainable Investing University Practicum | Concordia
- A Resolution for Investors: You Must Engage on New Forms of Stakeholder Capitalism | Responsible Investor
- A Tale of Two Letters: What are BlackRock’s new ESG promises? | Responsible Investor
- World’s Largest Asset Manager BlackRock Joins $41 trillion Climate-Change Investing Pact | MarketWatch
- Nuns Take on BlackRock Over Climate Change | Financial Times
- SEC Rulemaking Threatens to Disrupt ESG Investment Ecosystem and Undermine Shareholder Rights | Responsible Investor
- How to Get Socially Conscious Funds into Your 401(k) | Chicago Tribune
- Women Shattered the ESG Glass Ceiling, Now the Men Want In | PR Newswire
- 9 Lessons for Investing in Native Communities | Confluence Philanthropy
- 2019 Divestment Year in Review | CleanTechnica
- As Top Foundations Resist Divesting from Fossil Fuels, What Might Change Their Minds? | Inside Philanthropy
- Does Fiduciary Duty Prevent Fossil Fuel Divestment? | Inside Higher Ed
- Working from Within | Yale Daily News
- How a Young Alumni Movement Wants to Change Harvard’s Investment Policies | Harvard Magazine
- Improving Millions of Lives and Saving Billions of Dollars: Sustainable Investing and Criminal Justice Reform | Forbes
- UWI Collaborates to Advance Climate Risk Research | Trinidad & Tobago Guardian
- Higher Education’s Role in the Race to a Climate Change Solution | Portland Business Journal
- Colorado College Achieves Carbon Neutrality Goal | Colorado College
- (Listen) Pricing Climate Risk in the Markets, with Robert Litterman | Resources
- (Listen) Kesha Cash of Impact America Fund Shines a Light on ‘shadow economies’ | Technical.ly
- $12.5 million Tipping Point Fund, a Coalition of High-Profile Donors, Will Finance Impact Investing Infrastructure | Forbes
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 Hannah Bowen at [email protected].