January 1, 2018

Sustainable Finance and Investing in a Responsible Future

The following memorandum provides an overview of how universities are addressing climate change through their endowment assets.

In the introduction, a brief taxonomy of sustainable investing is provided – spectrum of capital that looks at traditional investing, responsible investing, sustainable investing, impact investing and philanthropy. We also review some recent examples and trends of sustainable investing in other sectors.

In Section 2, we take a look at how universities are engaging beyond traditional investing. Other Canadian universities have made recent announcements and are leading in sustainable investing.

In Section 3, we provide further readings and reference tools.

Section 4, two Annexes are provided. The first Annex provides various examples of what other universities (Canadian, American, international) are doing and links to various documents should the reader wish to explore. This includes universities involved in shareholder engagement and proxy voting, committees on responsible investing, endowment transparency, fossil fuel divestment (fully, partially, in process), sustainable investment funds, student funds, investment policy statements and more. The Second Annex provides examples of over fifty other universities’ transitions towards sustainable investing.