Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 82.07
Liaison Corey Hawkey
Submission Date March 1, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Arizona State University
PA-9: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.48 / 4.00 Corey Hawkey
Assistant Director
University Sustainability Practices
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution wish to pursue Option 1 (positive sustainability investment)?:
Yes

Total value of the investment pool:
691918279 US/Canadian $

Value of holdings in each of the following categories:
Value of Holdings
Sustainable industries (e.g. renewable energy or sustainable forestry) ---
Businesses selected for exemplary sustainability performance (e.g. using criteria specified in a sustainable investment policy) 116400000 US/Canadian $
Sustainability investment funds (e.g. a renewable energy or impact investment fund) ---
Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) or the equivalent ---
Socially responsible mutual funds with positive screens (or the equivalent) 2384585 US/Canadian $
Green revolving loan funds that are funded from the endowment ---

A brief description of the companies, funds, and/or institutions referenced above:

The ASU Foundation invests 19.6 percent of its Long Term Investment Pool in stocks from the Dow Jones World Sustainability Index. Additionally, the ASU Foundation invests directly in a socially responsible mutual fund.


Percentage of the institution's investment pool in positive sustainability investments:
17.17

Does the institution wish to pursue Option 2 (investor engagement)?:
Yes

Does the institution have a publicly available sustainable investment policy?:
Yes

A copy of the sustainable investment policy:
The sustainable investment policy:

The ASU Foundation aligns itself with the university’s long-standing reputation and mission to serve as a national model for commitment to sustainability and environmentally responsible practices. The Foundation’s investment committee has proactively investigated and deliberated on the topic of SRI for many years.

The ASU Foundation and the university it serves are committed to taking a leadership role in addressing issues that pose a threat to our global community. Climate change and broader sustainability concerns represent significant risks and opportunities to investment portfolios and the ASU Foundation will continue to actively investigate strategies that best serve all needs.

The ASU Foundation’s attention to SRI resonates beyond the board room: in January 2015, the Foundation partnered with the Intentional Endowments Network to host the Intentionally Designed Endowment Forum: Aligning Investment Portfolios with Institutional Mission, Values, and Sustainability Goals. Recognizing the increasing importance of this topic to students, faculty, donors, and other stakeholders, the foundation and its partner convened more than 100 higher education presidents, business officers, trustees, endowment portfolio managers, private foundation officers, and others in an unprecedented forum to address how endowments can be positioned to support higher education in creating a more just, healthy, and sustainable society.

In keeping with the ASU Foundation’s mission to support the success of Arizona State University, endowment returns support a wide range of ASU’s programs, scholarships, and research, including the innumerable activities that reflect ASU's university-wide commitment to sustainability and environmentally responsible topics. Further, the foundation seeks philanthropic partners to join us in this arena, most notably Julie Ann Wrigley, whose $50 million in gifts helped create the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.

Note:

The ASU Foundation offers donors an ESG (environmental, social, governance) investment pool in addition to its diversified long-term investment pool.


Does the institution use its sustainable investment policy to select and guide investment managers?:
Yes

A brief description of how the policy is applied, including recent examples:

Foundation selected an ESG investment manager and funded the investment in November 2015.

Additionally, a new discretionary manager, BlackRock, assumed management of the investment pool as of July 1, 2017. As part of their decision-making process, BlackRock incorporates ESG metrics into their due diligence and manager selection process for the endowment.

As outlined in a letter written by BlackRock’s Chairman and CEO, Larry Fink, BlackRock as a firm has also made commitments to pursuing ESG policies by engaging directly with companies and using their proxy voting power to influence and promote ESG principles. We believe that BlackRock’s values are strongly aligned with ours and will continue to see them use their influence to further ESG principles. See below for a link to the letter:

https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/en-us/investor-relations/larry-fink-ceo-letter


Has the institution engaged in proxy voting, either by its CIR or other committee or through the use of guidelines, to promote sustainability during the previous three years?:
Yes

A copy of the proxy voting guidelines or proxy record:
A brief description of how managers are adhering to proxy voting guidelines:

In addition, our outsourced CIO, BlackRock, has engaged in numerous activities on behalf of their clients, including us, as outline above and below.

Below is a brief description of BlackRock’s proxy voting guidelines:

These guidelines are divided into six key themes which group together the issues that frequently appear on the agenda of annual and extraordinary meetings of shareholders.

The six key themes are:

_ Boards and directors
_ Auditors and audit-related issues
_ Capital structure, mergers, asset sales and other special transactions
_ Remuneration and benefits
_ Social, ethical and environmental issues
_ General corporate governance matters

Detailed information regarding BlackRock’s corporate governance and engagement prinicples, investment stewardship engagement principles, and climate risk engagement can be found here:

https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/en-br/about-us/investment-stewardship/voting-guidelines-reports-position-papers

Individual managers vote proxies on the Foundation's behalf.

Our outsourced CIO, BlackRock, engages on our behalf both at the portfolio level and, where they are also the fund manager, at the individual security level, as described previously.


Has the institution filed or co-filed one or more shareholder resolutions that address sustainability or submitted one or more letters about social or environmental responsibility to a company in which it holds investments during the previous three years?:
No

Examples of how the institution has engaged with corporations in its portfolio about sustainability issues during the previous three years:
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Does the institution have a publicly available investment policy with negative screens?:
No

A brief description of the negative screens and how they have been implemented:
---

Approximate percentage of the endowment that the negative screens apply to:
---

Does the institution engage in policy advocacy by participating in investor networks and/or engage in inter-organizational collaborations to share best practices?:
Yes

A brief description of the investor networks and/or collaborations:

ASU Foundation, along with ASU, are founding members of Intentional Endowments Network. A staff member or Committee member attends at least one IEN conference per year. Additionally, ASU Foundation hosted the Intentionally Designed Endowment Forum at ASU in January 2015 and February 2018. Additionally, ASUF's CEO was a stakeholder in the 'Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century' whitepaper.

ASU is also part of a coalition of universities, called the University Climate Change Coalition. The universities have committed to mobilizing their resources and expertise to help businesses, cities and states achieve their climate goals. Specific goals include hosting cross-sector forums between business, schools, and government institutions, and producing a coalition climate mitigation and adaption report to synthesize the best practices, policies, and recommendations from all UC3 forums to develop a framework for continued progress of climate change goals.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.