Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.12
Liaison Amir Nadav
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of St. Thomas
PA-10: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.90 / 4.00 Carol Peterfeso
Chief Treasury / Investment Officer
Treasury Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total value of the investment pool:
586,525,642 US/Canadian $

Value of holdings in each of the following categories:
Value of holdings
Sustainable industries (e.g., renewable energy or sustainable forestry) 1,367,980.95 US/Canadian $
Businesses selected for exemplary sustainability performance (e.g., using criteria specified in a sustainable investment policy) 47,965,545 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) 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:

Approximately 8% of the endowment is invested with two external public equity investment managers who both incorporate Environmental, Social and Governance criteria (ESG) as part of their stock screening process. Both managers are signatories to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

The first manager screens for positive ESG factors, and avoids fossil fuels/services, firearms, private prisons, and unethical labor or lending practices. The manager also states that “special attention is paid to risks to a firm's operations, reputation and valuation with respect to climate change risk.”

The second manager maintains an ESG Steering Team, which is responsible for guiding the execution of their ESG program. This manager monitors the carbon emissions intensity of their portfolio, which is significantly lower than the index. The manager integrates formal ESG assessment into their investment evaluation and continues to do so after purchase, considering ESG factors within the context of companies' industry and region/country.

Lastly, the University has three investments in sustainable industries, which in aggregate make up 0.23% of the total endowment pool.  Through one of the University's external investment managers, these investments are in a renewable transportation fuel company, a Danish biogas company, and UK renewable energy company.


Percentage of the institution's investment pool in positive sustainability investments:
8.41

Does the institution have a publicly available sustainable investment policy?:
No

A copy of the sustainable investment policy:
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The sustainable investment policy:

The University's Investment Committee had a consultant review sustainable investing and has begun to discuss how the endowment can move to a more sustainable portfolio. The goal is for the Investment Committee and the Board of Trustees to create a formal ESG policy in 2021.


Does the institution use its sustainable investment policy to select and guide investment managers?:
No

A brief description of how the sustainable investment policy is applied:
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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?:
No

A copy of the proxy voting guidelines or proxy record:
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A brief description of how managers are adhering to proxy voting guidelines:

The University does not engage directly with companies, but some of the third-party money managers the University is invested with do engage in proxy voting. For example, one of our investment managers supported a shareholder proposal that asked a specialty pharmaceutical company for ESG reporting and disclosure. Our investment manager disagreed with the company management's objections to the proposal.

The same investment manager also supported a stockholder proposal asking an apparel/footwear company to produce a human rights assessment report. The company's board recommended against the proposal, but our investment manager called the company's CEO to share why they would vote in favor of the proposal. Our manager also used this opportunity to discuss how they wanted the company to be more transparent in reporting their environmental, social and governance policies.


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?:
No

Examples of how the institution has engaged with corporations in its portfolio about sustainability issues during the previous three years:

Although the University does not engage directly with companies, our staff do engage directly with the external investment managers in which the University has made investments. Within the last three years, University staff participated in feedback given directly to an Oil and Gas investment manager to encourage the manager to incorporate sustainable investing into their investment strategy.


Does the institution participate in a public divestment effort and/or have a publicly available investment policy with negative screens?:
No

A brief description of the divestment effort or negative screens and how they have been implemented:

A few of the University's global public equity managers do incorporate ESG screens as part of their stock selection. For example, one of our managers screens for positive ESG factors, and avoids fossil fuels/services, firearms, private prisons, and unethical labor or lending practices. The manager also states that “special attention is paid to risks to a firm's operations, reputation and valuation with respect to climate change risk.”

Another one of our managers monitors the carbon emissions intensity of their portfolio, which is significantly lower than the index. The manager integrates formal ESG assessment into their investment evaluation and continues to do so after purchase, considering ESG factors within the context of companies' industry and region/country.

Additionally, the University has not made a commitment to an exploration & production oil and gas investment firm since 2016, as the University's efforts have switched to a focus on renewable energy and sustainable investment funds.


Approximate percentage of endowment that the divestment effort and/or negative screens apply to:
8

Does the institution engage in policy advocacy by participating in investor networks and/or engage in inter-organizational collaborations to share best practices?:
Yes

A brief description of the investor networks and/or collaborations:

The University's Investment Office staff attended the Pension Bridge ESG Summit in February 10-12, 2020 and the Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit in February 23-25, 2020 in Atlanta. In 2020, the University became a member of the Intentional Endowments Network. Additionally, the university's investment staff have had ESG discussions with staff at higher education peer institutions (Georgetown, Loyola, Villanova, Creighton) and at Cornell University.


Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable investment efforts is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The value of the University's total investment pool and sustainable investments are figures for June 30, 2020.

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.