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

STARS v2.2

University of New Hampshire
PA-9: Committee on Investor Responsibility

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Erik Gross
Treasurer
UNH Foundation
"---" 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?:
Yes

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:

A vote to establish this committee was made by the Investment Committee of the UNH Foundation Board in spring 2017, and the first meeting of the committee was held in July 2017. An updated Charter for the the Committee on Investor Responsibility was approved in February 2021 and includes the following:
Sustainability is a core value at the University of New Hampshire and it underpins our academics, research and practice. As part of UNH’s ongoing institution-wide commitment to sustainability, the UNH Committee on Investor Responsibility (CIR) was created to help support the Foundation in sustainable, socially responsible investment practices and policies.
Operating Principles
• The UNH Endowment Fund is capital of the University of New Hampshire Foundation (UNHF) gifted by donors, invested and managed for the benefit of the University of New Hampshire, and providing funding to support the academic, research, and public service missions of the University.
• The primary investment objective of the Endowment is to achieve the highest long-term return on investment assets that is compatible with the University’s risk tolerance and time horizons and consistent with prudent investment practices.
• “Sustainable investment” practices are consistent with this objective in that they entail consideration of short- and long-term risks of environmental, social and/or corporate harm, which can present financial risk for investments.
• By acting in an advisory role to the Investment Committee (IC), the CIR can increase IC’s capacity for making prudent decisions regarding the management of the Endowment. As the role of the CIR is informational, all decision-making authority rests with IC and UNHF Board of Trustees.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Committee
• Research opportunities relevant to the sustainable investment of the Foundation’s endowment monies—including opportunities that may arise for increased shareholder engagement or proxy voting, as well as specific investment strategies or opportunities.
• Consider proposals from the UNH community (e.g., students, staff, faculty, alumni, etc.) relevant to sustainable investment of Endowment monies.
• Make recommendations to IC on possible courses of action.
• Help educate and inform the broader UNH community about sustainable investment practices in general and about UNH’s sustainable investment practices in particular.
Committee Composition
• The CIR includes representatives of alumni, faculty, students, staff, the IC, the Sustainability Institute, and external investment industry professionals with a demonstrated interest in sustainable investing. All members have equal voting rights. The Treasurer of the Foundation serves as ex officio staff liaison to the CIR and is also a voting member. The committee aims for two or three representatives from each constituency group noted above with a total membership target of 10-14 individuals. The term for CIR members begins upon appointment and consists of a 3-year commitment, or less in the case of students who may be graduating prior to the end of a three-year term. Terms are renewable up to two terms. • New members will be recommended by the current CIR to the President of the UNH Foundation and the Chair of the Investment Committee. Faculty and Student Senates may make recommendations to the CIR to fill their respective vacancies.
• The ideal member will have a demonstrated interest in the area of responsible investing, and a dedication to the advancing the missions of the Foundation and UNH.
Operational Processes
• The Committee shall meet 6 to 8 times per year, as called by chair.
• The Committee’s priority goals/issues will be revisited and updated annually, at a minimum.
• UNH community members may submit concerns/suggestions regarding sustainability issues and the University's investments to the Committee on Investor Responsibility.
• The CIR will consider and vote on what recommendations (if any) to make to IC regarding proposals brought to them or generated by the committee.


Does the CIR include academic staff representation?:
Yes

Does the CIR include non-academic staff representation?:
Yes

Does the CIR include student representation?:
Yes

Members of the CIR, including affiliations and role:

Membership as of July 31, 2021
Julie Gorte – Senior Vice President of Sustainable Investing, Impax Asset Management (Chair, Industry Professional, Parent of UNH Alumnus)
Paul Anderson '90 - Executive Managing Partner, Ironwood Investment Management, LLC (Alumnus, Industry Professional)
Molly Betournay '05,'09G - Director of Social Research and Shareholder Advocacy, Clean Yield Asset Management (Alumna, Industry Professional)
Ned Dane ’88 – Chief Strategy Officer, Aidentified LLC / Partner, Position A Partners (Alumnus, UNH Foundation Board Investment Committee member)
Alexys Gilcreast ’18 – Wealth Planning Associate, Ballentine Partners (Alumna, Industry Professional)
Erik Gross G’97 – Treasurer, UNH Foundation (Staff)
Lisa Olsson '22 - Business Administration (Finance, Information Systems & Business Analytics) (Current Student)
Matt Oriente '23 - Business Administration and Sustainability (Current Student)
Austin Perea ’14 – Pricing and Policy Manager, SunPower Corporation (Alumnus)
Sarah Samuels '94 - Partner, NEPC LLC (Alumna, Industry Professional, UNH Foundation Board Investment Committee Chair)
Steve Trzaskoma – Center Director, Center for the Humanities, Director, Responsible Governance & Sustainable Citizenship Project, Professor, Classics, Humanities and Italian Studies, College of Liberal Arts (Faculty)
Fiona Wilson – Director, UNH Sustainability Institute / Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer, UNH / Paul College (Staff and Affiliate Faculty)
Sarah Wilkinson ’22 Analytical Economics and Sustainability– (Current Student)
Cameron Wake '93 G – Research Professor, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, & Dept. of Earth Sciences, Josephine A. Lamprey Professor in Climate and Sustainability, UNH Sustainability Institute (Faculty and Alumnus)


Examples of CIR actions during the previous three years:

The CIR has made significant progress since its establishment in 2017. Specifically, in the last three years examples of notable actions and tangible outcomes include the following:

2018: CIR worked with UNH Foundation Treasurer to identify endowed funds within the UNH Foundation endowment where the purpose was aligned with the principles of sustainability (e.g. endowment of the UNH Sustainability Institute.) Made recommendation to the Investment Committee of the UNH foundation to transition these key identified endowed funds into the Endowments fledgling ESG pool. Recommendation was approved.

2018: Made recommendation to the Investment Committee to become a member of the Intentional Endowments Network and a signatory to the Principles of Responsible Investing. (PRI is an international framework that asks member organizations to actively promote and demonstrate sustainable investing principles.) Recommendation was approved and actioned in 2018.

2019: UNH announced completion of the transition of 16 percent of its investable assets - ~$37M - into ESG-qualified (environmental, social and governance) investments, making it one of the few higher education institutions in the country to take this approach to aligning its investments with its values of sustainability.(See https://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/news/release/2019/05/28/unh-expands-sustainability-leadership-alignment-investments-and-values)

2020: CIR asked USNH Treasurer's Office to review sustainable investment options available to UNH faculty and staff through the 403(b) defined contribution plans. Two options were made available.

2020: CIR advocated for the adoption of a new UNH gift form for new endowed gifts. Previously the gift form required donors to "opt in" if they wanted to express a preference for their gift to be invested in the ESG pool. The revised form is an opt-out, allowing donors to indicate a preference for their endowed gift to be invested in the main pool.

2020: CIR recommended that UNH President sign the IEN/Second Nature Call to Action for Higher Education Leadership. President Dean signed on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, this call to action that aims to accelerate climate solutions in higher education institutions. See https://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/2020/04/unh-honors-50th-anniversary-earth-day

2018-2021: CIR members contributed to publications on sustainable endowment investing, sharing UNH approach. for example, https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/intentionalendowments/pages/51/attachments/original/1542745486/IEN_CommunityInvesting_%281%29.pdf?1542745486
https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/intentionalendowments/pages/51/attachments/original/1555950774/IEN_FI_QA_Apr2019.pdf?1555950774

2018-2021: Multiple presentations by CIR members at various industry conferences and forum (e.g. Intentional Endowments Network webinars and events, AASHE conference, Ashoka U Exchange) as well as presentations to UNH undergraduate classes and student groups, including an annual panel on sustainable investing at the UNH Paul College of Business & Economics Center for Financial Policy's Annual Finance Symposium

2021: CIR sponsored a current UNH student to undertake a 400 hour internship (for credit) through UNH's Semester in the City program (a partnership with the College for Social Innovation.) The student worked alongside UNH Foundation Treasurer and UNH's investment consultant, Prime Buchholz, to develop a rigorous survey instrument and survey managers within the UNH endowment on their ESG practices. The data was then analyzed and allowed the creation of UNH's proprietary methodology for determining ESG-qualified investments in the UNHF portfolio.


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