Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 87.10
Liaison Alex Davis
Submission Date March 5, 2020

STARS v2.2

Arizona State University
PA-10: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Alex Davis
Asst. Director
University Sustainability Practices
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total value of the investment pool:
995,745,282.76 US/Canadian $

Value of holdings in each of the following categories:
Value of holdings
Sustainable industries (e.g., renewable energy or sustainable forestry) 0 US/Canadian $
Businesses selected for exemplary sustainability performance (e.g., using criteria specified in a sustainable investment policy) 449,836,546 US/Canadian $
Sustainability investment funds (e.g., a renewable energy or impact investment fund) 0 US/Canadian $
Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) or the equivalent 0 US/Canadian $
Socially responsible mutual funds with positive screens (or the equivalent) 0 US/Canadian $
Green revolving funds funded from the endowment 0 US/Canadian $

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

Similar to most endowments, the vast majority of our assets are invested in pooled vehicles managed by third-party managers. The ASU Foundation assesses its managers using a proprietary framework developed by BlackRock to determine the level of ESG integration into the managers security selection and portfolio construction process. The ASU Foundation considers managers ranked "Advanced" or higher as an ESG manager.

Definition of an "Advanced" Manager:
- able to articulate specific steps in the investment process where ESG information is formally reviewed at a team level
- ESG analysis is a process requirement and is conducted for every potential investment decision
- team has conducted ESG research on all portfolio holdings or on every new investment idea
- able to provide examples of ESG information influencing investment decision, or proprietary models where ESG is directly linked to a scalable internal rating or score
- has dedicated ESG resources integrated within investment teams that are responsible for refining ESG processes and can actively influence investment decisions on the basis of ESG criteria

Additionally, the ASU Foundation has a endowed Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Pool with 100% of it's holdings in ESG oriented holdings, managers, and strategies

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

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

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

Available here: https://www.asufoundation.org/endowment.html

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?:

A brief description of how the sustainable investment policy is applied:

The Foundation established a Sustainable, Responsible, Impact endowment pool in July 2019. The sustainability policy is applied to directly to the investment decision making of the pool.

Key tenets of the sustainability policy include:
- aligning capital in a manner consistent with the mission of Arizona State University
- a responsibility to consider the environmental, social and governance impacts of our investment decisions
- a recognition that the financial markets have not fully priced in material non-financial considerations such as ESG issues
- a belief in the long-term shift of companies business models that are directly impacted by climate change, resource scarcity, demographic shifts, advances in healthcare, evolving transport, educational innovation, and financial inclusion

The sustainability policy is implemented through a framework that consists of the following:
- a sustainability policy directly embedded into the Investment Policy Statement
- application of the policy across all asset classes, geographies, sectors, and strategies
- alignment with managers that not only incorporate ESG into their investment process, but also reflect those same values in their own business practices
- active ownership
- measurement of process to evaluated progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, diversity, and other relevant impact metrics
- stakeholder engagement through collaboration with expects and constituents within the University

Additionally, a new discretionary manager, BlackRock, assumed management of the broader endowment portfolio 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 while also drawing a direct linkage of climate risk as investment risk. Further, BlackRock has commitmed to divesting client assets from companies who derive a material percentage of revenue from thermal coal production. We believe that BlackRock’s values are strongly aligned with the mission of the ASU Foundation and will continue to see them use their influence to further ESG principles. See below for a link to the 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?:

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

Similar to most endowments, the vast majority of our assets are invested in pooled vehicles by third-party managers. Our outsourced CIO, BlackRock, has engaged in numerous activities on behalf of their clients, including us, as outlined above and below.

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

These guidelines are divided into six key themes that group 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
_ Compensation and benefits
_ Environmental and social issues
_ General corporate governance matters and shareholder protections

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


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.

Additional information: https://www.blackrock.com/us/individual/literature/publication/blk-annual-stewardship-report-2019.pdf

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?:

Examples of how the institution has engaged with corporations in its portfolio about sustainability issues during the previous three years:

See above response regarding Proxy Voting

Does the institution participate in a public divestment effort and/or have a publicly available investment policy with negative screens?:

A brief description of the divestment effort or negative screens and how they have been implemented:

Consistent with our University's charter to be "measured not by whom it excludes, but by whom it includes and how they succeed", we have adopted the goal not to have the least impact possible, but rather the greatest net positive impact possible. In other words, our strategy is not predicated on where we don't invest, but rather where we choose to allocate capital in order to advance a sustainable, equitable future.

Approximate percentage of endowment that the divestment effort and/or 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?:

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

The ASU Foundation--along with ASU--is a founding member of the Intentional Endowments Network (IEN). The Chief Investment Officer of ASU Enterprise Partners (parent company of the ASU Foundation) is on the executive board of IEN and the advisory board of Pension & Investments ESG Investing. Additionally, ASU Foundation hosted the Intentionally Designed Endowment Forum at ASU in January 2015 and February 2018. Additionally, the ASU Foundation's CEO was a stakeholder in the 'Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century' whitepaper, published by Generation Investment Management, Principles for Responsible Investment, and UNEP Finance Program (2016).

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable investment efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

Note that the endowment amount reported in the Operational Characteristics section does not include non-pooled endowments managed by third parties or other assets counted for NACUBO assets. The amount reported above includes those assets.

Note that the endowment amount reported in the Operational Characteristics section does not include non-pooled endowments managed by third parties or other assets counted for NACUBO assets. The amount reported above includes those assets.

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.