Overall Rating Bronze
Overall Score 43.45
Liaison Chris Homan
Submission Date Feb. 25, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Illinois State University
PA-9: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 4.00 Ben Krull
Sustainability Program Manager
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution wish to pursue Option 1 (positive sustainability investment)?:
No

Total value of the investment pool:
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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) ---
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) ---
Green revolving loan funds that are funded from the endowment ---

A brief description of the companies, funds, and/or institutions referenced above:
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Percentage of the institution's investment pool in positive sustainability investments:
0

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

Does the institution have a publicly available sustainable investment policy?:
No

A copy of the sustainable investment policy:
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The sustainable investment policy:
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Does the institution use its sustainable investment policy to select and guide investment managers?:
No

A brief description of how the policy is applied, including recent examples:
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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:
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A brief description of how managers are adhering to proxy voting guidelines:

Illinois State University utilizes a third-party asset management firm named Commonfund. Commonfund believes that ESG investment factors can have a material impact on long-term performance and has formally incorporated ESG factors into their due diligence process and evaluation of existing and prospective managers


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?:
Yes

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

Commonfund is an active participant in the ongoing development of sustainable investing practices for long-term investors. Acting on our belief that companies that pay greater attention to environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) factors may have stronger business models and potentially more favorable long-term investment performance, we became a signatory of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (“PRI”) in February 2013. We were subsequently invited to join the PRI’s Private Equity Due Diligence Working Group, which has been gathering best practices for ESG integration by private equity managers and is creating a guide for general partners. We also serve on the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board Advisory Council, which is developing standards for use by publicly-listed corporations in the U.S. in disclosing material sustainability issues in their mandatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Commonfund believes that ESG investment factors can have a material impact on long-term performance so we have formally incorporated ESG factors into our due diligence process and evaluation of existing and prospective managers. For example, as part of our standard due diligence process, we ask potential managers a series of questions about whether and how they integrate analysis of financially material ESG factors into their investment process. We actively follow up with managers on their responses and engage them in dialogue about their approaches to ESG investing. Currently, we use a positive approach rather than employing negative screens that exclude specific companies or industries.

Commonfund is also actively engaged in efforts to deepen the thinking around sustainable investing and to assist investors and managers who want to integrate ESG factors into their investment portfolios by distilling the existing research and contributing to the ongoing dialogue. Commonfund has published white papers and articles that provide introductions to responsible investing and contain an objective assessment of where the field currently stands.


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

Illinois State University utilizes a third-party asset management firm named Commonfund. Commonfund became a signatory of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (“PRI”) in February 2013 and were subsequently invited to join the PRI’s Private Equity Due Diligence Working Group, which has been gathering best practices for ESG integration by private equity managers and is creating a guide for general partners.


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.