Concordia University Foundation takes a leadership role in sustainable investment
The Concordia University Foundation (CUF) is taking a leadership role amongst North American foundations in announcing the creation of a sustainable investment fund.
Initially, the foundation will transfer $5 million of its assets into the fund with the potential to make additional contributions.
“We have been closely following the public discourse on divestment, and social and ethical investing,” says Howard Davidson, chair of the CUF. “The result includes the adoption of a responsible investment policy and exploring a new approach to asset management.”
The CUF will select investment managers who will use a fully sustainable investment approach with the $5 million set aside for this new fund.
Sustainable investment incorporates environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors. It is based on the principle of investing in leading ESG companies while excluding those that don’t meet ESG criteria, such as fossil fuels, weapons or tobacco. It also encourages investments that address specific sustainability issues or themes, such as climate change, food or water.
The foundation has a fiduciary responsibility to donors and beneficiaries — students and faculty — to invest and manage the university’s endowment wisely.
“The transition to sustainable investment won’t happen overnight,” says Davidson. “But this is a solid start and it demonstrates the leadership in the area of sustainability that Concordia is known for.”
Concordia’s president Alan Shepard applauds the CUF for taking this step, and for the process leading up to it.
“This was really a collaborative effort on an extremely complex issue,” Shepard says. “Our student leaders stimulated the discussion and the foundation was responsive to their concerns.”
The process to initiate the sustainable investment fund will begin in January 2015.