Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 76.02
Liaison Rochelle Owen
Submission Date July 21, 2021

STARS v2.2

Dalhousie University
PA-10: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.44 / 4.00 Nancy-Beth Foran
Financial Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total value of the investment pool:
607,700,000 US/Canadian $

Value of holdings in each of the following categories:
Value of holdings
Sustainable industries (e.g., renewable energy or sustainable forestry) 2,695,000 US/Canadian $
Businesses selected for exemplary sustainability performance (e.g., using criteria specified in a sustainable investment policy) 96,750,000 US/Canadian $
Sustainability investment funds (e.g., a renewable energy or impact investment fund) 857,000 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:

All fund managers have formal (online) ESG policies and/or are signatories to the PRI.

ESG factors are included in the assessments of investment opportunities. Reports on ESG factors are provided to the Dalhousie Investment Committee. Managers use their own rating systems and services such as Sustainalytics. Strategies include selecting companies that are performing well to meet return targets and factors such as ESG. No negative screen is being used (ex. Divestment policy).

The University does not currently have an internal rating system or framework for what constitutes exemplary business sustainability performance thus the following proxy calculation has been created. At Dalhousie all investment decisions should be including ESG factors.

Dalhousie engaged an external service provider to provide a risk assessment semi annually (Mar 31, and Sept 30) on the portfolio. Included in this assessment is an ESG rating for each manager that has publicly traded funds. (MSCI ESG Ratings). This assessment also provides a few carbon emission calculations for our reference. The two calculations are Emissions intensity (total Capital) calculated as metric tonnes/$ million total Capital and Emissions Intensity (Sales) calculated as metric tonnes/$ million sales.

At March 31, 2020 the public holdings that were rated AAA or AA by MSCI ESG ratings, which is considered to be industry leaders represented 20.61% of the public holdings market value or ($469,400,000 * 20.61% = $96,750,000. Within the private placement holdings $2,695,000 was held in sustainable industries. As well, Dalhousie invested in a private Renewable Energy fund in 2019. The commitment is 11 million Euros and to date has only been 5% called (which is the $857,000 listed above).

In the past 2 and a half years years there were two occurrences where an investment manager was terminated because after many meetings and discussions it was felt they were not making any progress on formally integrating ESG into their investment process.

In 2020 Dalhousie invested in a second Sustainable Investment Fund called the Environmental Sustainability Fund. This commitment was $10 million USD but to date there has not been a capital call.

Information on investment types and managers is available in the annual investment report:

See additional reports:


Community development financial institutions (CDFI) or the equivalent: No CDFI holdings as The University does not benefit from this tax investment strategy

Socially responsible mutual funds with positive screens or the equivalent: Do not invest in mutual funds.

Green revolving loan funds: $0 from the endowment; however, money is invested annually from operations related funding for on-campus sustainability projects. Since 2009, $96 million has been invested in sustainability related projects.

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:

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:

In the Dalhousie University’s investment policy section 5.8 identifies “The Endowment Funds will encourage its external investment managers to develop and enhance their ESG assessment capabilities. The Administration will include ESG assessment progress and capabilities in each investment manager’s annual review.”

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:

The Investment Policy provides direction for investment managers to report on ESG proxy voting. “Section - 13.6 The Investment Committee or Administration will require the Investment Managers to provide a summary of how proxies have been voted. This report shall also disclose any ESG issues that may have arisen and how this ESG issue has impacted positively or negatively the exercise of any proxy vote” e.g. votes related to climate change.

Proxy Voting

The Investment Committee or Administration will require the Investment Managers to provide a summary of how proxies have been voted. This report shall also disclose any ESG issues that may have arisen and how this ESG issue has impacted positively or negatively the exercise of any proxy vote. https://www.dal.ca/dept/treasury-investments/endowments/dalhousie-s-esg-integration.html

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 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:

Dalhousie encourages external investment managers to include ESG factors in their evaluations. Managers do not utilize negative screening

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:

Dalhousie participates in the Responsible Investing Association and CAUBO sessions on sustainable investment and other conferences as on-going.

Dalhousie became a signatory to the PRI in June 2019.

Dalhousie was one of 15 Canadian Universities to sign on to the Climate Change Charter – further details on the charter can be found here.


Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable investment efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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.