Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 76.32
Liaison Karen Oberer
Submission Date Dec. 11, 2020

STARS v2.2

McGill University
PA-10: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.69 / 5.00 Sophie Leblanc
Chief Investment Officer
Office of Investments
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total value of the investment pool:
1,729,641,432 US/Canadian $

Value of holdings in each of the following categories:
Value of holdings
Sustainable industries (e.g., renewable energy or sustainable forestry) 33,700,000 US/Canadian $
Businesses selected for exemplary sustainability performance (e.g., using criteria specified in a sustainable investment policy) 171,350,155 US/Canadian $
Sustainability investment funds (e.g., a renewable energy or impact investment fund) 7,956,748 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:

RE: Holdings in sustainable industries:
- Green Real Estate in the development and repurpose of energy efficient projects
- Loans to renewable energies (e.g. onshore wind farm, solar projects)

RE: Businesses selected for exemplary sustainability performance:
Companies listed in McGill's investment holdings were cross listed against four major sustainability indices (Corporate Sustainability Assessment & Dow Jones Sustainability Index*; UN Global Compact 100; Jantzi Index; and the Corporate Knights Top 100) and/or submitted a Global Reporting Initiative report from 2016-2020.
*i.e., industry leaders in each of the 61 industries represented in the SAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) and the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices.
Total investment in these companies equals $155,550,155.

The company lists were pulled from the following websites:
- CSA & Dow Jones Sustainability Index (as of Sept. 13, 2019):
- Jantzi Social Index Constituents (as of March 18, 2019):
- The Global Compact 100 Index Constituents (accessed Aug. 4, 2020):
- Corporate Knights Global 100 constituents (2019):
- Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) report (accessed Aug. 4, 2020):

Also included in this section is the amount of the University's "impact investments" which include green bonds and bonds to public transit authorities (total of $15.8 million).

RE: Holdings in sustainability investment funds
- Fossil Fuel Free equity fund managed by an external manager
- SRI Fund managed by McGill’s Students

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:

From the Statement of Investment Policy (2020):

Section 5: Socially Responsible Investing
"While the primary purpose of the management of the MIP is to optimize the real rate of return on the fund’s assets with an acceptable level of risk, the Committee will follow the instructions of the Board of Governors, pursuant to the recommendation of the Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility.

"The Committee will select, when possible, external investment managers who adhere to ESG policy and/or are signatories of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI). In addition, it will engage with external investment managers and encourage them to:
- Adhere to an ESG Policy and/or become signatory of the UNPRI
- Monitor the carbon footprint of their portfolio
- Exercise active stewardship through voting and corporate engagement
- Report on portfolio carbon emissions, exposure to sustainable industries and impact investments.

"The Committee is also committed to reducing the carbon emissions of the MIP public equity portfolio and to increasing to its commitment to impact investments including low-carbon funds and funds that contribute to decarbonization of the MIP. As such, the specific commitments are as follows:
- Reduce the carbon emissions of the MIP public equity portfolio in order to achieve and sustain, by 2025, a 33% carbon emissions reduction of the MIP public equities relative to the MIP public equities benchmark, with the understanding that the majority of the reduction is to be achieved within the first two years.
- Commit by 2025, 5% of the MIP to impact investments through public or private markets in funds, equity, debt or real assets that are generating a measurable environmental impact.

"The Committee will present to CAMSR and to the Board of Governors and publish annually, a
report on socially responsible investment activities."

Source: https://www.mcgill.ca/secretariat/files/secretariat/statement_of_investment_policy.pdf

For more information about CAMSR see credit PA-9 and:

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 Office of Investments looks for managers who take ESG into account when selecting investments and favor managers who are UNPRI signatories.

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:

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:

McGill's has implemented negative screens for socially unethical investments, such as those for Burma and tobacco, and has enforced these screens through the guidelines given to the managers.

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:

In January 2020, the Office of Investments presented its approach to lowering the carbon footprint of the university's portoflios to other Canadian universities (U15 Group of Canadian Reseach Universities; u15.ca).

On June 23, 2020, the Chief Investment Officer and Treasurer presented a webinar for CAUBO entitled "Decarbonizing the University Endowment – The McGill University Approach." The presentation covered the following topics:
- The McGill Endowment Investment Pool’s objectives and purpose
- The complexity of its investment structure (60 different strategies)

Also in June 2020, McGill became a signatory, along with 14 other major Canadian research universities, to "Investing to Address Climate Change: A Charter for Canadian Universities," a pledge to follow responsible investment practices.

Recently, the Office of Investments has been engaging with fund managers by encouraging them to review the carbon intensity of their portfolios. Here are some of the impacts of this engagement:
- fund managers removing carbon-heavy companies from their portfolios
- increased commitment from fund managers to review the carbon impact of potential new additions to their fund portfolios and to make decisions accordingly to limit carbon intensity
- a fund manager committed to initiating a research project to see how they could reduce the carbon footprint of their portfolio

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:

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.