Founded in 2012 with the proceeds of the sale of Vision TV, the Inspirit Foundation aims to promote inclusion and pluralism through media and arts, specifically addressing discrimination based on ethnicity, race or religion. Their current strategic plan focuses on fostering reconciliation and addressing Islamophobia.
In 2020, 98% of the foundation’s portfolio was dedicated to impact investing. The Inspirit Foundation employs a mix of impact investing strategies, including program and mission related investing in their private portfolio, and positive screens, ESG integration as well as low-carbon considerations in their public portfolio, along with shareholder engagement. With regards to climate change, the foundation tracks its public portfolio’s exposure to carbon emissions and risks.
Roadmap Towards a 100% Impact Portfolio
BNN Bloomberg: BlackRock Inc. said it’s instituting new measures to address diversity and inclusion issues after two former employees leveled discrimination complaints against the company.
BNN Bloomberg: A former employee of Pacific Investment Management Co. claimed she was sexually harassed by men at the firm and demoted after she rejected advances by her boss, the former chairman of Pimco funds, Brent Harris.
Institutional Asset Manager: A GBP3.2 trillion investor coalition against modern slavery, including Aberdeen Standard Investments, Church of England Pensions Board, Legal & General and Rathbones, has put pressure on 22 laggard companies on the FTSE 350 to comply with the UK’s modern slavery laws.
Reuters: A London judge on Thursday rejected an attempt by the lawyer of Crispin Odey, one of Britain’s most high-profile hedge fund managers, to throw out an historic indecent assault case early.
Financial Post: Uncertainty about the impact climate change may have on the financial system should not prevent financial firms and their supervisors from moving now to prepare for the shocks to come, a key Federal Reserve policymaker said on Thursday.
Pensions & Investments: Secretary of Labor nominee Marty Walsh has concerns about two recent rule-makings finalized under the Trump administration and, if confirmed, will instruct the Employee Benefits Security Administration to re-examine the rules. [Full article available to Pensions & Investments subscribers.]
Pensions & Investments: Scottish Widows' Master Trust, a U.K. defined contribution multiemployer plan, selected four managers to manage the assets of four newly launched ESG investment options, a spokeswoman confirmed. [Full article available to Pensions & Investments subscribers.]
BNN Bloomberg: BNP Paribas will have to defend itself against several of the claims in a suit accusing the bank of facilitating human rights abuses in the Sudan after a New York federal judge rejected parts of its request to dismiss the suit.
IPE: A new centre is being launched in the UK with the aim of arming financial institutions with the data and analytics they need to contribute to the shift to environmentally sustainable economic activity. Asset owners have been keen to support the project.
Founded in 1999 by John Swift, United Parcel Services’ heir and environmentalist, the Swift Foundation seeks to support biodiversity conservation, protection and promotion of Indigenous traditional knowledge and innovations, inclusive and local economies, as well as research that challenges and problematizes technocratic solutions.
In 2009, the Swift Foundation looked at how they could use their endowment could directly support socially and environmentally responsible endeavors, which led to the organization’s first mission-related investment policy. The Swift Foundation has allocated 30% of its endowment towards Mission Related Investments, which focuses on addressing climate change, enhancing the health of communities globally and supporting biological and cultural diversity. Additionally, the Swift Foundation has implemented a comprehensive list of exclusionary restrictions, which include filters such as non-sustainable timber, the Toxic 100 List, coal, controversial weapons and genetically modified organisms.
Mission Related Investing Policy
City A.M.: Lawyers for an environmental charity have written to HSBC to remind it of its legal duties with regard to climate risk, as the banks mulls supporting a climate change resolution ahead of its next annual general meeting.
Responsible Investor: Global investors are facing an unprecedented situation with Uighur forced labor present in hundreds of factories throughout China in numerous sectors.
Bloomberg: Goldman Sachs Group Inc. sold bonds aimed at financing environmentally and socially conscious projects for the first time, joining other Wall Street banks tapping the fast-growing market. [Full article available to Bloomberg subscribers.]
BNN Bloomberg: The entire wealth and asset management business of Nordea Bank Abp - which currently oversees about $425 billion - may exclude all investments that aren’t deemed sustainable in as little as half a decade.
Funds Europe: Just over half of fund flows in Europe last year went into ESG products – with investors showing a strong preference for actively managed ESG funds.
BNN Bloomberg: There’s now an overwhelming consensus behind zeroing-out emissions to slow down global warming. Nine of the 10 largest economies will soon align behind this goal, once President Joe Biden resets U.S. climate policy. The single-largest shareholder on the planet, BlackRock Inc., has likewise put its $8.7 trillion heft behind a powerful message to chief executives everywhere: The decades ahead will be defined by minimizing emissions, requiring an overhaul to everyone’s business models.
IPE: The manager of Norway’s NOK11trn (€1.1trn) oil fund has backed ideas from the European Commission on sustainable corporate governance, but warned that setting hard and fast rules about the specific expertise boards should have could cause problems.
Institutional Asset Manager: Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors are now key criteria for selecting new asset managers, according to a survey of pension schemes, insurance firms, and family offices worth a combined USD7 trillion.
IPE: Asset owners should pay close attention to whether asset managers have a clear policy setting out actions they may take if their engagement with companies has not proved effective, according to UK charity investor Friends Provident Foundation.
Established in 1999 by Jeff Skoll, former president of eBay, the Skoll Foundation strives to drive change towards a sustainable world of peace and prosperity. The Foundation supports economic opportunity, education, environmental sustainability, health, peace and humans rights, and sustainable markets. As at December 31, 2019, the Skoll Foundation had US$ 1.3 billion of total assets.
As part of its responsible investment approach, the Skoll Foundation incorporates environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations to its investment process with the help of a B-Corp certified external manager. With regard to Active Ownership, the Foundation has implemented shareholder engagement guidelines which aligns with its mission and prioritizes the interests of customers and communities. Moreover, the organization collaborates with peers through networks such as the Mission Investors Exchange and the Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR).
Public Shareholder Engagement Guidelines
Market Watch: Advocates say the giant money manager could be more aggressive.
BNN Bloomberg: Debt that rewards borrowers for hitting environmental or social targets is the next frontier for sustainable finance, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co, which predicts an issuance surge this year.
BNN Bloomberg: Blackstone Group Inc. plans to make diversity the centerpiece of an expanded student entrepreneurship initiative.
Institutional Investor: A majority of investors believe all funds will incorporate environmental, social, and governance factors in five years, according to a survey by CoreData.
Institutional Investor: With the explosion of ESG data and ratings, there’s little agreement on what makes a company good or bad.
Financial Post: Andurand Capital Management is among hedge funds betting the price of carbon can only go up.
Responsible Investor: Complaint centres on UBS’ exposure to surveillance firm Hikvision. [Full article available to Responsible Investor subscribers.]
Reuters: Aviva Investors said on Monday it could ditch its stock and bond holdings in 30 of the world’s biggest corporate emitters of carbon if their boards failed to take sufficient action over climate change.
Wall Street Journal: Current and former employees of Pacific Investment Management Co. wrote to the investment firm’s senior executives alleging a pattern of abusive and discriminatory behavior toward women and urging them to take steps to fix gaps in pay and promotions. [Full article available to Wall Street Journal subscribers.]
The Park Foundation was established in 1966 to support education, public broadcasting, the environment, and other selected areas of interest to the Park Family. More recently, the Foundation’s environmental causes have focused on energy and water issues.
The Foundation manages its assets in order to maximize its impact by aligning its investment strategy to its mission. As part of its Mission-Related investing activities, it has implemented negative screening criteria on alcohol, gambling, nuclear and conventional weapons, and tobacco. Moreover, the Foundation has implemented guidance for its investment advisors and external managers around ESG integration across its portfolio. With regards to climate change, the Foundation estimates that climate solutions investments constitute approximately 15% of its portfolio. Moreover, the Park Foundation is a signatory to the Divest/Invest Initiative.
IPE: Major Dutch pension investor APG has sold its stake in South Korean utility KEPCO because the majority government-owned company is continuing to pursue new coal-fired power plants.
IPE: The Pensionsfonds of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has fallen under criticism for adopting contradicting policies for its sustainable investments.
IPE: A trio of industry bodies have launched the word’s first listed infrastructure index to encourage better environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure.
Yahoo! Finance: Malaysia’s largest pension fund aims to make all its investments based on environmental, social and governance practices by 2030, betting a strategy based on holding sustainable assets can make it more resilient against future market upheavals.
IPE: BlackRock will be publishing a temperature alignment metric for public equity and bond funds, where market data is sufficiently reliable, as part of a series of actions to help investors with their climate change-related goals, it disclosed today.
Wall Street Journal: Five of the largest U.S. banks publicly committed to mandating a diverse slate of applicants when hiring employees, part of a push to diversify an industry whose top ranks remain largely white and male. [Full article available to Wall Street Journal subscribers.]
Bloomberg: Three of New York City’s five public employee pension funds are divesting $4 billion from securities related to fossil-fuel companies. [Full article available to Bloomberg subscribers.]
Los Angeles Times: Leon Black, who founded Apollo Global Management Inc. three decades ago in the aftermath of one scandal, is retiring as chief executive in the aftermath of another, this one involving the notorious sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Bloomberg: Credit Suisse Group AG, ING Groep NV and BNP Paribas SA will stop providing trade financing for oil exports from the Ecuadorian Amazon, after pressure from climate activists. [Full article available to Bloomberg subscribers.]