Concordia’s sustainable investment initiative: the next stage
In November 2014, the Concordia University Foundation (CUF) announced the creation of a sustainable investment fund, established with the transfer of $5 million in assets from existing funds.
Since then, the foundation's board has chosen Nelson Capital as its fund manager because of its strategy of investing in companies with environmentally and socially sustainable practices.
Now, the CUF continues to show leadership among Canadian universities with the creation of a joint sustainable investment advisory committee (JSIAC). The committee will hold its first meeting on February 17.
“The committee is the result of multi-stakeholder consultation,” says Bram Freedman, CUF president and Concordia’s vice-president of Advancement and External Relations. “This has been our approach from the very beginning — bringing together all the voices and opinions on the timely issue of divestment.”
The JSIAC will include representatives from the Concordia Student Union (CSU), the Graduate Students Association (GSA), Divest Concordia, the CUF and two faculty members with expertise in the area of sustainable investing.
The overall mandate of the committee will be to make recommendations to their respective governing bodies on socially and environmentally responsible investment opportunities. Establishing the JSIAC provides a structure for fostering dialogue on investment decisions in order to advance discussions that promote sustainability.
In particular, the JSIAC will explore and exchange on the sustainable investment practices of both the CUF and funds held and managed by the student associations. “This is a fairly new investment area and we will explore targeted and impact investing, green revolving funds, to name just a few,” says Freedman.
The foundation has a fiduciary responsibility to donors and beneficiaries — students and faculty — to invest and manage the university’s endowment wisely. Investment returns reporting and transparency and implementation of best practices in the area of sustainable investing will be priorities.
Based on its work, JSAIC will also provide recommendations on the possibility of increasing the amount of funds currently invested in sustainable investment funds by their respective governing bodies.
Find out more about the Concordia University Foundation.