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

STARS v2.2

McGill University
PA-9: Committee on Investor Responsibility

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Karen Oberer
Sustainability Officer
McGill Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a formally established and active committee on investor responsibility (CIR) or equivalent body?:

The charter or mission statement of the CIR or other body which reflects social and environmental concerns or a brief description of how the CIR is tasked to address social and environmental concerns:

The Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility (CAMSR) is one of the Board’s ten standing Committees. Its mandate involves advising the Board on matters concerning social responsibility. More specifically, the Committee, taking due regard of the mission of the University, and the fiduciary duties of the Board, advises the Board on matters concerning social responsibility related to University endowment investments within the mandate of the Board’s Investment Committee.

From the Terms of Reference of the Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility (CAMSR):
The Committee "shall meet periodically at the call of the Chair, and at least once per year, to review questions and issues of social responsibility related to University investment policy within the mandate of the Investment Committee of the Board."

The Committee "shall report to the Board within a reasonable time frame following each meeting and may make recommendations in writing, with appropriate supporting evidence and documentation, concerning the following:
i. proposed revisions to existing policy, guidelines and practices concerning endowment investments;
ii. follow-up with a company concerning a matter which was the subject of the Committee’s review or study, including proposed changes in corporate practice;
iii. support for shareholder resolutions recommending changes in a company’s management practice;
iv. proposed alternate actions, other than divestment of holdings, as deemed appropriate by the Committee."

"The Committee:
- May undertake studies of socially responsible investment policies and best practices;
- May review information, data, analysis, reports and publications touching on issues of social responsibility;
- May seek input and feedback from the University community as deemed appropriate.

"Expressions of Concern, Submissions and Consideration: "Without limiting the generality of the foregoing mandate, the Committee also shall consider, report on and make recommendations to the Board with respect to written expressions of concern from the University community about matters of social responsibility related to University investments falling within the mandate of the Investment Committee of the Board."


Does the CIR include academic staff representation?:

Does the CIR include non-academic staff representation?:

Does the CIR include student representation?:

Members of the CIR, including affiliations and role:

From the Terms of Reference of the Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility (CAMSR):

The Committee shall consist of:
1. Six members, excluding the ex officio members, comprised as follows:
- one member of the Board's Investment Committee;
- one Board member from among the Academic Staff Members or the Senate Members;
- one Board member from among the Administrative and Support Staff Members;
- one Student Member;
- up to two members selected from among the following: At-Large members or Alumni Association Members of the Board, Governors Emeriti or Honorary Governors;
- one member of the Committee may be from the general public.
2. The Principal, Vice-Chancellor, and Chair of the Board of Governors shall serve as ex officio members of the Committee.
3. The Chair of the Committee shall be selected from among the At-Large Members, Alumni Association Members, Governors Emeriti or Honorary Governors serving on the Committee.
4. The Secretary-General or her/his delegate shall serve as Secretary to the Committee.

Examples of CIR actions during the previous three years:

In 2016, the Board endorsed CAMSR’s recommendations, which led to a series of actions, including:

- Establishing an SRI fund option for donors interested in such an option. Actions since 2016: The SRI fund was established in 2017 with an initial commitment of $5 million.
- Looking at opportunities for, and supporting, sound investments in alternative (renewable) energy firms, alternative technology development and commercialization. Actions since 2016: The Investment Office has assumed a more active role in considering such opportunities and investments in the context of evaluating and selecting investment opportunities.
- Developing Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) principles and guidelines for endowment investments and asking investment managers to report annually on the implementation and compliance regarding ESG and the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (“UNPRI”). This also included supporting and initiating shareholder resolutions to encourage changes in company practices deemed inconsistent with ESG and UNPRI. Actions since 2016: The Investment Committee has been regularly monitoring the status of ESG and UNPRI implementation and compliance by the University’s investment managers. Currently, over 80%* of the University’s investment managers have adopted ESG policies and/or are signatories of the UNPRI.
*Over 80% according to the 2018-2019 report; it is now 93% of the University's investment managers, according to the newly released 2019-2020 report.

Source: https://www.mcgill.ca/boardofgovernors/files/boardofgovernors/13._gd19-29_camsr_report.pdf (pp.7-9)

In December 2019, CAMSR made the following recommendations regarding Socially Responsible Investing (SRI):
- Reduce the overall carbon emissions of the endowment portfolio by a percentage to be set against a determined reference index or benchmark. This commitment will involve a reduction of exposure to the highest carbon intensive companies in the portfolio, including some within the fossil fuel industry.
- Invest in low-carbon funds and funds that contribute to decarbonization (impact investments) of the MIP and set global allocation objectives, which may include the following asset classes: fixed income (ex: green bonds); private investments (ex: new clean technologies in auto parts, solar equipment, light fixtures); real assets [renewable energy infrastructure (ex: wind, solar, hydro, waste, bioenergy)]
- Increase the amounts invested in the fossil-fuel-free fund (established in 2017 with a $5 million commitment) and promote it among the donor community
- Exercise, to the extent possible, active stewardship through investor engagement opportunities with investment managers
- Review the Statement of Investment Policy of the MIP to reflect Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) goals and objectives, including amending the Investment Objective section to consider ESG commitments.
- Present to the Board and publish, annually, a report on socially responsible investing (“SRI”), including: % of assets managed by managers with an ESG policy and/or as signatories of the UNPRI; MIP carbon emission absolute and relative measures; impact investment exposures; and such other initiatives as may be relevant to SRI activities
- The Board commit to reviewing the current SRI practices on a five-year basis in order to determine the need for any adjustments or further SRI actions, as may be advisable, in relation to the University’s endowment fund.
- The University, in line with its mission, take a leadership role to evaluate and promote, in collaboration with peer (U15) universities, policies and best practices in the area of SRI.
Source: https://www.mcgill.ca/boardofgovernors/files/boardofgovernors/13._gd19-29_camsr_report.pdf (pp.17-19)

The Board of Governors approved the implementation plan contained in the CAMSR Report (GD19-50) supporting the operationalization of the CAMSR recommendations, on April 23, 2020.
See: https://www.mcgill.ca/boardofgovernors/files/boardofgovernors/06._gd19-50_camsr_report.pdf

Website URL where information about the institution’s committee on investor responsibility is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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