Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 52.39
Liaison Brian Liechti
Submission Date Aug. 24, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Warren Wilson College
PA-14: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 4.00 Alison Climo
Director of Institutional Effectiveness
Institutional Effectiveness
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total value of the investment pool:
52,100,000 US/Canadian $

Value of holdings in each of the following categories::
Value of Holdings
Sustainable industries (e.g. renewable energy or sustainable forestry) 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) 0 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:

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

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

Approved by the Board of Trustees on October 10, 2015
I. Statement of Responsible Investment Beliefs
The Investment Committee (IC) believes it has a responsibility to manage the endowment fund’s assets and underlying investments in a manner consistent with the values, culture, and mission of Warren Wilson College. As such, the Investment Committee feels the need and importance to specifically highlight and illustrate within the endowment fund’s Investment Policy certain guiding principles and investment guidelines reflecting its responsible investing philosophy.
II. Responsible Investing Philosophy
The Investment Committee intends the integration of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) considerations into investment management strategies, processes and practices in the belief that these factors can benefit the endowment fund’s performance, and provide a qualitative impact consistent with the values, culture and mission of Warren Wilson College.
III. Guiding Principles
We will incorporate ESG criteria in the endowment fund’s investment analysis and decision-making processes, particularly emphasizing profitable investments with positive social and environmental impacts aligned with the priorities and values of Warren Wilson College.
A. We will utilize positive screening as a way to proactively benefit the endowment fund’s performance.
B. We will utilize negative screening to limit the endowment fund’s involvement in those ESG issues which are antithetical to Warren Wilson College’s values, mission, and culture.
C. We will seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the investment managers and funds in which we invest.
D. We will work to continually enhance our effectiveness in implementing our responsible investment philosophy and practices.
E. We will report on the endowment fund’s responsible investing activities and progress towards implementing its principles; and provide the necessary disclosures associated with our responsible investing efforts.
F. Transparency supports adherence to institutional policies and allows for increased stakeholder awareness of endowment fund activities. When institutional investors consider environmental, social and governance criteria, transparency about these processes increases their effects on social and environmental outcomes.

IV. Responsible Investment Guidelines
A. The IC’s goals and intentions are to work towards implementing its Responsible Investing Policy across the entire endowment fund and across asset classes over time. Under the guidance of the endowment fund’s Investment Consultant, a strategic approach will be undertaken selecting investment managers opportunistically in asset classes consistent with the endowment fund’s overall Investment Policy.
B. The IC's Responsible Investment Guidelines shall apply only to investments in which the endowment fund’s assets are invested in separately managed accounts and which the IC can exercise control of the investment guidelines.
C. With commingled funds and limited partnerships, the IC cannot exercise control of the investment guidelines because the investment manager or general partner is required to treat all investors and partners under the same set of investment policies. However, the Investment Consultant will strive to include managers or partnerships whose commingled funds or partnerships are invested under responsible investment guidelines as similar as possible to, and consistent with, the IC’s Responsible Investment Policy. Further, the IC and the Investment Consultant will seek to utilize a diverse group of investment managers including minority- and women-owned investment management firms.
D. Responsible investing risk-factors and investment strategies shall span the following assets classes:
1. Fixed income – community development investing, government debt, and certain corporate debt (“green bonds”);
2. Public Equities – positive or negative screening, ESG integration, and active ownership;
3. Private Equities – product-focused investments, process-focused investments, economically-targeted investments;
4. Real Estate – product focused investments, environmental, green and sustainable investments;
Although it reserves subjectivity in its assessment of the endowment fund’s investment managers and underlying investments, the IC and the Investment Consultant expects minimum environmental, social and governance standards, as recognized in the industry by the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), will be adhered to by the underlying investment managers the Investment Consultant selects to manage portions of the endowment fund. The Investment Consultant will advise the Investment Committee of new responsible investing products that investment managers develop, which may be relevant for the endowment fund

V. Responsible Investment Strategies to be Employed
A. Positive Screens: Investment managers who are investing in companies involved in the industries and promotion of renewable energy, organic food, local food, sustainable agriculture, community development, diversity, and generally, invest in companies and investments that demonstrate commitment to:
1. environmental sustainability, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sustainable forestry;
2. community / economic development and/or investment, particularly in communities with minority or low-income residents;
3. social diversity in hiring, executives and boards with respect to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation;
4. transparency and accountability in corporate governance.
B. Negative Screens: To the extent possible while protecting the endowment fund from excessive costs and maintaining adequate diversification, investments in companies involved in the production and distribution of oil, gas, and other fossil fuel sources will be avoided.
C. Monitoring separately managed investments. The IC and its Investment Consultant will monitor the endowment fund’s investment managers and the underlying investments in the portfolio on an annual basis.
D. Shareholder advocacy. In cases in which there are concerns about issues of corporate responsibility, then the IC, acting on its own behalf or in concert with other investors, may engage corporations to change that behavior. An example of such engagement is the sponsoring of shareholder resolutions. The IC may participate with external organizations designed to advocate issues of corporate responsibility.

An ESG advisory committee established by the Investment Committee, and comprising students, faculty, staff and administrators, will assist the Investment Committee on issues relating to the endowment fund’s Responsible Investing Policy.

VI. Reporting
On an annual basis, the IC and its Investment Consultant will provide a report illustrating the Responsible Investment Activities of the endowment fund’s portfolio. The underlying separate account or all investment managers will be requested to provide information related to ESG characteristics for the underlying investments. Each investment manager will be asked to communicate openly about its implementation of environmental, social and governance criteria. The report will be made available to the Warren Wilson College Board of Trustees and the Administration. At the discretion of the WWC IC, Board of Trustees and Administration the report may be made public under the terms of the aforementioned endowment fund stakeholders.
VII. Reviewing the Responsible Investment Policy
On an annual basis, the IC will review the Responsible Investment Policy to measure the effectiveness of the endowment fund with the use of selective performance indicators. Specifically, the assessment will seek to determine: how well it is working; what progress towards goals have been made; how is the implementation working; what issues are we facing and need to address; what adjustments or revisions, if any, need to be made; has anything changed that requires the IC to make changes to the policy; are there new approaches to responsible investing that could be considered; are the policies consistent with the values, mission and culture of WWC.
VIII. Credits
Document contains narrative and information obtained from third party sources including, but not limited to, UN’s PRI – Principles for Responsible Investment, Earlham College, and Harvard University.

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:

Investment managers report on SRI implementation to Investment Committee at each Board meeting. At its February 2016 meeting, they reported that the initial phase of the Carbon Tracker 200 exclusion process has been executed and currently 30% of the portfolio is Carbon Tracker 200 "free".

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

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

B. Negative Screens: To the extent possible while protecting the endowment fund from excessive costs and maintaining adequate diversification, investments in companies involved in the production and distribution of oil, gas, and other fossil fuel sources will be avoided.

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:

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

We anticipate 70% of endowment will be covered by negative screens by April 2016.

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.