Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.31
Liaison Vusal Karimli
Submission Date June 1, 2022

STARS v2.2

Western Caspian University
PA-10: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.85 / 3.00
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total value of the investment pool:
550,000 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) 3,000 US/Canadian $
Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) or the equivalent 30,000 US/Canadian $
Socially responsible mutual funds with positive screens (or the equivalent) 5,500 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 Foundation’s Investment Committee, in its role as a prudent steward of institutional assets, will be aware of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles as well as established Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) principles in its investment process. Within the context of its fiduciary responsibilities, including the duty to achieve maximized, risk-adjusted investment returns, the Investment Committee will consider such principles on an ongoing basis in the administration of the Foundation’s investment portfolio. The Committee has made social and environmental responsibility an explicit part of its mission and regular component of its investment process.

Additionally, about 12% of University’s long-term investment assets are handled by managers who are WCU signatories or have another strong ESG/SRI framework in place to support their investment decision-making processes. “Sustainable investments,” based on the STARS criteria, account for 0.45% of the investment pool because of the strict qualifications for positive sustainability investments outlined by STARS.

Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) or the equivalent
Description of community development financial institutions (CDFI) investments:
WCU is invested in several entities that promote financial inclusion and as such are functionally equivalent to CDFI’s.

ESF’s WCU’s Foundation invests 1% of the portfolio in the Azerbaijan Social Index mutual fund. This is a socially responsible. This low-cost fund seeks to track a benchmark of large- and mid-capitalization stocks that have been screened for certain social, human rights, and environmental criteria.


Percentage of the institution's investment pool in positive sustainability investments:
7.00

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

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

This policy establishes the objectives and parameters of the
University investment portfolios and outlines how the University is embracing
environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors within its investments,
reflecting the ambitious sustainability agenda within the University. Scope of the
Policy: The following investment policy is applied to the University endowments;
To reflect that this is a constantly developing area, the sustainable investment policy will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, and at least annually, by the Investment Committee, which includes a student representative from the Western Caspian University Students’ Union. Sustainable Investment Strategy: As part of the Western Caspian University 2026 Strategy, the University is committed to reducing its carbon footprint, with a view to be carbon neutral before 2050. In line with this ambitious target, the University is committed to ensuring that its portfolios are invested according to the highest ESG standards.
Our strategy recognizes that a responsible approach to sustainability and financial
returns are not mutually exclusive and that companies which embrace a sustainable
approach to environmental and social issues are more effective stewards of long-term capital. The University intends to sign up to the Universities Responsible
Investment Network, which will support our knowledge and decision making, The
portfolios will adhere to this strategy through a three-tier framework: 1. Investment
Exclusions Direct Investment The portfolios will not directly invest in companies
whose business has a significant interest in:
• Tobacco - manufacture, distribution or retailing
• Weapons – manufacture of controversial weapons including cluster bombs,
landmines, nuclear weapons (systems of components) and companies that
manufacture civilian firearms
• Coal and Tar Sands In line with investment vehicle norms, significant is defined
as 10% or more of revenue from the above activities.
The Committee have considered full divestment from fossil fuels but have decided
to use the unique position and influence of the University to engage with the sector
and encourage the transition to the low carbon economy. However, the University
will aim, on a best endeavors’ basis, to not invest in companies who have significant interest in fracking. When investing through pooled funds, investment decisions are made at the fund level, providing the University with less direct influence regarding the exact exclusions. Therefore, when investing through pooled vehicles, the University analyses the holistic ESG approach of the underlying fund manager and regularly reviews the fund exposures with its investment advisors.
2. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Integration When investing
directly or through pooled funds, the University requires its fund managers to:
• Be signatories to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment
(UNPRI)
• Incorporate ESG issues into their investment analysis and decision-making
processes
• Engage on social and environmental issues and track this engagement through
regular stewardship reporting to the Investment Committee. The University also
supports the principles of the United Nations Global Compact.
These principles focus on operating in ways that meet fundamental responsibilities
in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. The University expects its advisors and managers to act in a way that promotes positive behaviors and discourages negative behaviors through their investment screening and practices. The University will also look favorably upon investments with specific commitments regarding alignment with the UN Global Compact. The University will continue to review the pooled funds available and invest in those which adhere to the principles above.
3. Impact Investing As part of a balanced portfolio that has an appropriate risk and
liquidity spread, the endowment portfolios (University and Development Trust)
have committed 6% of the portfolio to an impact investing program. This program
will invest in businesses and sectors which are explicitly aiming to deliver an
environmental and social return in addition to a financial return and will be
diversified across eight sustainability themes:
• Clean energy
• Sustainable Transport
• Food & Agriculture
• Waste & Materials
• Ecosystem Services
• Education
• Health
• Financial Inclusion

See sustainable investment policy https://wcu.edu.az/uploads/files/WCU%20SUSTAINABLE%20INVESTMENT%20POLICY%20(1).pdf


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

A brief description of how the sustainable investment policy is applied:

The University's The Sustainability Research Fund is committed to actively progressing sustainable outcomes with investment decisions governed by policy to achieve a zero-carbon future. Under this policy, the University has no appetite to invest in assets with direct investment in fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) extraction, production and thermal coal power and is committed to investing in assets that accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon economy. The SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENT POLICY guides investment decisions that align with Policy.


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:
---

A brief description of how managers are adhering to proxy voting guidelines:

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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:

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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:

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Approximate percentage of endowment that the divestment effort and/or negative screens apply to:
0

Does the institution engage in policy advocacy by participating in investor networks and/or engage in inter-organizational collaborations to share best practices?:
No

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

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Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable investment efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.