Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 67.42
Liaison Mary-Lee Townsend
Submission Date Oct. 6, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Western University
PA-14: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.48 / 4.00 Stefanie De Adder
Sustainability Coordinator
Facilities Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total value of the investment pool:
685,100,000 US/Canadian $

Value of holdings in each of the following categories::
Value of Holdings
Sustainable industries (e.g. renewable energy or sustainable forestry) 112,000,000 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) 5,740,000 US/Canadian $
Green revolving loan funds that are funded from the endowment 0 US/Canadian $

A brief description of the companies, funds, and/or institutions referenced above:

The investments in sustainable industries are those made by investment managers of the Operating & Endowment Fund. Sustainable industries can be defined as those that promote energy efficiency, resource conservation to meet the needs of future generations, safe and skill-enhancing working conditions, low waste production processes, and the use of safe and environmentally compatible materials.
The Socially responsible mutual fund with positive screens (or the equivalent) is managed by Aberdeen Asset Management and is available as an investment option that members of the defined contribution pension plan can choose to invest their pension account.

Does the institution have a publicly available sustainable investment policy?:

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

Although the University does not currently have a sustainable investment policy for the management of assets in its Operating & Endowment portfolio, management and the Investment Committee are currently in the process of updating the portfolio’s Statement of Investment Objectives, Policies and Governance to incorporate environmental, social and governance factors.

The University Pension Plans’ Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures does include a section on sustainable investing.

Does the institution use its sustainable investment policy to select and guide investment managers?:

A brief description of how the policy is applied, including recent examples:

Does the institution's sustainable investment policy include negative screens?:

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

Approximate percentage of the endowment that the negative screens apply to:

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:

The University, either through the Operating & Endowment Fund or the Retirement Plans, does not engage companies on sustainability issues. However, the University has increased the level of scrutiny on environmental, social and governance factors when reviewing its external investment managers. A request for information, which is expected to be made on an annual basis going forward, was sent to all the investment managers on the Operating & Endowment Fund. It is expected that the request for information will also be sent to investment managers on the pension plans next year. The survey covers such items as the incorporation of ESG factors into the investment process, target allocation for climate change related investments, the presence of a committee on sustainable investment, the portfolio’s exposure to fossil fuels, sustainable industries and high impact sectors and proxy voting policy.

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

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

The University is a member of the Pension Investment Association of Canada (PIAC). PIAC’s membership includes Canadian pension plans (both defined benefits and defined contributions) as well as endowments and foundations. Through attendance at PIAC’s semi-annual conferences and through submissions to various regulatory bodies, the University has been involved in discussions about best practices on how to integrate ESG factors into the investment process and on how to engage investment managers and companies on the subject.

The website URL where information about the institution's sustainable investment efforts is available:
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.