Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.48
Liaison Heather Albert-Knopp
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

College of the Atlantic
PA-9: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.08 / 4.00 Andy Griffiths
Administrative Dean
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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

Total value of the investment pool:
60,247,000 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) 5,401 US/Canadian $
Sustainability investment funds (e.g. a renewable energy or impact investment fund) 5,000 US/Canadian $
Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) or the equivalent 0 US/Canadian $
Socially responsible mutual funds with positive screens (or the equivalent) 5,758 US/Canadian $
Green revolving loan funds that are funded from the endowment 750,000 US/Canadian $

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

The college's Sustainable Investment Committee, which is student-led, oversees the investments for our sustainable investment fund. As of March 2018 the sustainable investment fund includes the following holdings:

-Appleseed (APPLX)-$5,758
As a socially-responsible investing fund, or SRI, the Appleseed Fund has made a name for itself in just a few short years by beating the returns of more established SRI funds in a challenging environment. The fund is committed to “sustainable” companies that balance profits with good labor standards, environmental stewardship, and human rights records, and shuns those that deal in tobacco, alcohol, pornography, gambling, and the weapons industry.

-Touchstone Large Cap Growth (TEQAX)-$5,401
Selects investments based on an evaluation of a company's sustainability practices which considers and analyzes the potential environmental, social and governance impacts and risks of a company, how well the company manages these impacts and risks, and ascertains the company's willingness and ability to take a leadership position in implementing best practices.

-Pax Environmental Global Markets Fund - $5000
They invest specifically in environmental solutions and resource efficiency. This includes anything from renewable energy to services and products that increase resource efficiency and sustainability.

-Green revolving loan fund: The college has been approved to spend $750,000 as a green loan from the endowment to support several campus initiatives, including installing energy monitoring and controls in several buildings and renovating three buildings to tighten their envelopes.

The purpose of the sustainable investment fund is to provide students with meaningful hands-on decision making about investments and their impact on the world. The investment decisions made by the committee are constrained in just three respects.
-The value of the investments must be trackable through monthly reports.
-They must be reasonably liquid, allowing future groups to re-evaluate investment strategies and holdings.
-While the investments need not be conservative, they should not be so speculative to risk the holdings to the extent that future committees do not have funds to review and invest.

Changes in the holdings were not implemented in the last year until March of 2018 when an entire class, taught by Professor Jay Friedlander was devoted to studying Impact Investing, with the final assignment of each participant to recommend an investment of part of the available cash balance. Groups of students within the class made five competing recommendations, supported by the their rationale for selection. The winning recommendation as voted by the class was Pax. At the conclusion of the class, the college bought $5,000 of this fund -- this is not reflected in the numbers above, as our investment snapshot goes through December 2017. While the common thread of the investment recommendations was Impact Investment, the type of impact varied from saving water or saving energy to providing socially responsible management. We continue to meet with interested students from this class to make additional similar investments from the available funds.

The students have adopted investment principles by consensus. We apply responsibility screens as an important risk management tool. We also perform these screens to ensure that we own responsible companies with managers who make decisions with an awareness of their impact on the environment and on their community. We exclude companies that generate material revenues in the following industries: Fossil Fuels; Alcohol; Tobacco; Gambling; Weapon systems; Pornography. In addition, we look at other important areas that help us measure risk and determine whether companies are being managed responsibly. For example, we exclude natural resource companies that have direct investments in certain countries like Myanmar (Burma) and Sudan. Some of the factors and issues we examine in our positive ESG screens are environmental impact, human rights issues, and Community Investing. Please see the section on our sustainable investment committee to learn more about the parameters that the committee is using to guide its investments.

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

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

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

A copy of the sustainable investment policy:

The sustainable investment policy:

The 2008 Guidelines for the College of the Atlantic Endowment, passed by the College's trustees, include the following statement:
Social Responsibility:
The investments in the Endowment in general terms should be reflective of the College’s concern for society and the environment. At this time, the only specific area to be avoided is tobacco. The Investment Committee does not want to tie the hands of our investment managers but strongly urge them to be sensitive to and avoid companies whose activities and/or practices are broadly thought to be detrimental to the environment and poor business practices. If there is doubt about any issue in the minds of an investment manager before buying such an investment, they should contact the Chairman of the Investment Committee. From time to time, the College may ask our investment advisors to research a particular area of possible concern.

In addition, in March 2013 COA's trustees passed the following resolution to divest from fossil fuels:
Divestiture Statement:
College of the Atlantic will divest from any common stocks that appear on the
attached list of fossil fuel related companies [GOFOSSILFUELFREE TOP 200 COMPANIES] and will divest from any fixed income from that same list upon maturity; we will also instruct our investment managers to refrain from any further investments in
companies on that list.

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

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

We sold all of our fossil-energy-related equities in 2013. This was accomplished within 24 hours of our trustees enacting the divestiture resolution.

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:

From the 2008 Guidelines for the College of the Atlantic Endowment:
Proxies are to be voted by the investment managers. The College of the Atlantic Shareholder Advisory Standing Committee will provide recommendations on how to vote proxies that concern environmental and social issues.

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:

Does the institution have a publicly available investment policy with negative screens?:

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

We screen against tobacco and fossil fuels, as per the sustainable investment policy statements detailed above.

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?:

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

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Investment overviews above are as of March 2018.

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.