In November of 2017, the Board of Governors approved six recommendations related to the responsible investment of Laurier’s investment funds:
- Enhance environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk-management strategies.
- Develop a responsible investment annual report.
- Develop a fossil free/impact investing endowment fund.
- Seek out and create collaborative relationships with other institutions to advance responsible investing/ESG strategies.
- Continue to support research into the effects of climate change, the sustainability of ecosystems and ESG-related issues.
- Continue to implement strategies to reduce carbon emissions on campus and promote the principles of sustainability.
These recommendations were an outcome of a comprehensive review of responsible investing which involved various stakeholders across the university.
During the 2018/19 year, the university has made several steps towards meeting the Board’s objectives:
- The Investment Oversight Sub-committee, the Joint F&I and Pension committee, and Financial Resources staff received training from Proteus Performance on various responsible investing topics. These topics included Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), Socially Responsible Investing, and Impact Investing.
- Laurier became a member of the Responsible Investment Association, which will provide the university with an opportunity to collaborate with other organizations on responsible investing and get access to research on the topic.
- Laurier continues to be a leader in sustainability on campus and in research, which is detailed in the Sustainability Action Plan 2018-2022, and the Strategic Research Plan 2014-2019.
Update on CU200 Exposure
Laurier continues to monitor its exposure to the Carbon Underground 200’s list of publicly traded securities, which identifies 200 of the largest coal, oil and gas publicly traded reserve holders globally:
- Pension Plan – 4.4%
- Endowment – 3.7%
- Sinking Fund – 6.2%
- Lazaridis Gift – 2.2%
- Balsillie Endowment – 2.1%
Investment Managers and Responsible Investment
Laurier’s investments are managed by investment managers in pooled funds and limited partnerships. Many of Laurier’s investment managers have publically available policies on ESG, and they must report on the topic each year to Laurier’s Investment Oversight Sub-committee.
As of April 2019, seven of Laurier’s investment managers reported as signatories of the UN PRI (United Nations‐supported Principles for Responsible Investment). This is an increase from 2016 when only two investment managers were signatories.
The UN PRI is the one of the most well-known organizations in the world for responsible investment, and signatories have committed to working to achieve the following six principles:
- We will incorporate ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes.
- We will be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices.
- We will seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest.
- We will promote acceptance and implementation of the Principles within the investment industry.
- We will work together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the Principles.
- We will each report on our activities and progress towards implementing the Principles.
In addition to UN PRI, Laurier’s investment managers are involved in several other well-known responsible investment organizations:
- Four are members of the Carbon Disclosure Project
- Four are members of the Responsible Investment Association
- Three are members of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance
- One is a signatory of the Montreal Carbon Pledge