|Submission Date||March 6, 2020|
University of Massachusetts Amherst
PA-10: Sustainable Investment
Total value of the investment pool:
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)||0 US/Canadian $|
|Sustainability investment funds (e.g., a renewable energy or impact investment fund)||0 US/Canadian $|
|Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) or the equivalent||0 US/Canadian $|
|Socially responsible mutual funds with positive screens (or the equivalent)||1,600,000 US/Canadian $|
|Green revolving funds funded from the endowment||0 US/Canadian $|
A brief description of the companies, funds, and/or institutions referenced above:
The Foundation’s social choice fund invests solely in the Neuberger Berman Socially Responsive Equity Fund (NBSLX). NBSLX is an equity mutual fund which incorporates ESG criteria into its investment selection and monitoring process to identify companies which are leaders in sustainable growth and profitability. ESG Criteria used by the fund managers include the following: Environmental Impact, Workplace Policies, Community Impact, Sustainable Supply Chains, Product Integrity and Governance & Disclosure.
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:
The Foundation’s Investment Policy Statement has been amended to include ESG criteria as part of the Investment Committee’s investment selection and monitoring process. In addition, the endowment is prohibited from directly investing in fossil fuels.
Environmental, Social and Governance – As a long-term investor, the Foundation is concerned with environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) issues which may affect the performance of its investments and are inconsistent with the University’s mission and commitment to sustainability. As such, the Committee will consider ESG factors as part of its investment selection and monitoring process. The extent of this consideration will be determined by the Committee and may include evaluating external investment managers’ consideration of ESG factors as part of their investment process and encouraging investment managers to enhance their ESG assessment capabilities.
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:
Yes, ESG considerations are part of the Investment Committee’s investment selection and monitoring process. (see above)
The Investment Committee recently selected a new equity manager, which was allocated a portion of the endowment portfolio. As part of the Committee’s selection process, it inquired with potential managers regarding any ESG criteria that they use as part of their investment process. The manager that was ultimately selected had integrated robust ESG factors into their investment and risk-management processes firm-wide, in addition to being a member of the UNPRI. While this was not the only criteria used by the Committee in their decision, it was one of several criteria used.
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:
The endowment is prohibited from directly investing in fossil fuels. Existing direct investments in fossil fuel companies have been sold from the endowment portfolio and future purchases are prohibited as determined by the Foundation’s Board of Directors.
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:
The UMass Foundation is a founding member of the Intentional Endowments Network and signatory to the Carbon Disclosure Project.
The Intentional Endowments Network supports colleges, universities, and other mission-driven tax-exempt organizations in aligning their endowment investment practices with their mission, values, and sustainability goals without sacrificing financial returns. In doing so, this broad-based, collaborative network will make a significant and critical contribution to creating a healthy, just, and sustainable society.
The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) provides a global system for organizations to measure, disclose, manage and share environmental information. CDP investor initiatives – backed in 2015 by more than 822 institutional investors representing an excess of US$95 trillion in assets – give investors access to a global source of year-on-year information that supports long-term objective analysis. This includes evidence and insight into companies’ greenhouse gas emissions, water usage and strategies for managing climate change, water and deforestation risks.
Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable investment efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
The work of the UMass Foundation is done on behalf of the 5 campus UMass system and the policies and the work done by its committees apply to the UMass system.
"UMass Becomes First Major Public University to Divest from Direct Fossil Fuel Holdings" https://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/article/umass-becomes-first-major-public
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