U of G Policy Reflects Responsible Investing

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Johnston hallThe University of Guelph will begin considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when making investment decisions.

U of G’s Board of Governors voted Friday to amend the University’s endowment investment policy to reflect recommendations of the Working Group on Responsible Investing.

Changes include incorporating ESG risk factors into investment research; monitoring portfolios in the context of ESG factors; and considering ESG capabilities when hiring new managers.

A “statement of investment beliefs” will address responsible investing and better align the University’s investment policy, processes and decisions with the mission vision and values stated in the University’s strategic framework document.

In addition, this past April B of G approved a “special action investment policy” to ensure transparency in considering divestment requests.

“It’s so rewarding to see this,” said B of G member Mary Anne Chambers, who chaired the working group. Chambers is a former provincial minister of training, colleges and universities and minister of children and youth services, and a former board chair of the United Way of Canada.

“We are living up to who we say we want to be — to who we are,” she said.

B of G created the working group in 2014 to help consider responsible investment policy and practices for the University’s endowment funds. The group released a final report in 2015.

The report offered numerous recommendations and emphasized the need to align the University’s investment policy and related choices with its strategic directions and institutional values.

The endowment investment policy was the first “test,” Chambers said.

“This says that the University embodies certain values, and illustrates that we have connected across various communities. It also encourages us to continue to be brave.”