Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.09
Liaison Jennifer Andrews
Submission Date Aug. 16, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of New Hampshire
PA-10: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Erik Gross
UNH Foundation
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total value of the investment pool:
295,772,039 US/Canadian $

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) 134,029,645 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 4,291,921 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:
The UNH Foundation endowment assets are held in two investment pools – the Main Pool and the ESG Pool – and invested almost entirely in pooled vehicles managed by third-party managers. The Foundation invests about 1.5% of its assets with the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, a CDFI serving several important and underserved communities in the NH loan market.

Fund managers exhibiting “exemplary sustainability performance” exist across all segments of the Foundation’s Main and ESG pools. This assessment is based on a proprietary ESG survey instrument developed at the Foundation that was sent to its investment managers in January 2021. The resulting response data was analyzed across 16 different facets of sustainable investing and converted into a quantitative framework. The resulting fund manager scores were stratified into one of four levels of engagement with ESG concepts and integration in their firm and manager selection procedures. The UNH Foundation designated the top 2 scoring levels (called “Established ESG Engagement” and “Industry ESG Leader”) as exemplary ESG-qualified fund managers. 17 of the Foundation’s 37 fund managers are in these top two categories, or about 45% of assets under management. The Foundation’s ESG Pool is populated entirely with ESG-qualified managers; about 34% of the Main Pool assets are held in ESG-qualified managers. These results are highly correlated to Prime Buchholz’s ESG scoring framework.

Representative characteristics of the managers demonstrating exemplary sustainability performance:
• The 16 pooled funds implement all three E, S and G factors into their fund manager review and selection procedures for all or nearly all of their investments. The 17th firm is a CDFI.
• 11 of the pooled funds have a well-articulated ESG policy and are UNPRI signatories; 4 have made one of these two commitments.
• The 16 pooled funds incorporate climate change action risk and valuation assessments in manager selection and monitoring.
• All 17 funds incorporate DEI into firm management.
• Industry Leaders scored in at least 14 of the 16 facets of the survey evaluation; Established Engagement scored in 10 to 13 of the 16 facets.

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:
The Foundation’s Investment Committee collaborates with Prime Buchholz, its consultant, to select fund managers for the portfolio as guided by the Foundation’s investment policy statement, which stipulates that ESG factors will be reviewed in the selection process for all new managers, as well as in the ongoing monitoring of existing managers. Their review ensures that the committee consistently discusses managers through this ESG lens. Prime Buchholz periodically issues research reports to the committee using various screens (fossil fuels, private prisons, weapons, etc.) so that the committee can stay routinely review the portfolio’s exposure to these issues.
The investment committee will issue the ESG survey to fund managers annually. As part of these annual engagements, we will continue to reinforce with our fund managers the importance and value we place on using sustainable investing principles in the investment process.

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:
While virtually all of the Foundation’s investments are in commingled funds and thus do not permit direct proxy voting by the Foundation to underlying managers, the Foundation has issued letters to all fund managers encouraging them to vote proxies with sustainable investing principles in mind.

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:
The Foundation issued a survey to all of its fund managers in December 2020, seeking information about their respective application of ESG principles to firm-level and fund-level management. The survey signaled the Foundation's commitment to understanding how its fund managers operate, and we were pleased to have achieved a 100% response rate. The survey will be updated annually. As a follow-up to the survey, the Foundation recently issued letters to all of its fund managers strongly encouraging the application of sustainable investing principles in their investment process and in proxy voting opportunities, and to incorporate DEI considerations in the construction of their workforces.

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 UNH Foundation’s Board has determined that the most appropriate investment policy for its investments is not an explicit exclusionary policy but one which encourages fund managers to take ESG factors into consideration when selecting underlying investments. In fact, the Foundation’s ESG portfolio consists of a number of fund managers who have chosen not to invest in certain segments of the fossil fuel market. The Foundation’s ESG Pool has 0% exposure to fossil fuel investments and the Main Pool has less than 2% exposure to the fossil fuel industry.

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 UNH Foundation has been a member of the Intentional Endowments Network (IEN) since 2018, and Erik Gross, the Foundation’s treasurer, and some members of the Committee on Investor Responsibility have participated on a number of IEN conference panels regarding UNH’s sustainable investing experiences over the last several years. Mr. Gross is a member of the IEN steering committee, has participated on IEN’s Sustainable Retirement Plans task force, and has contributed to a number of IEN topical briefing documents.

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.