University at Buffalo Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility

Greiner Hall.

History

The University at Buffalo Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility was founded in 2013 as an advisory body for the University at Buffalo Foundation. It is tasked to guide the Foundation in making socially and environmentally responsible investments while continuing to bring in revenue for the University. 

Charge

The University at Buffalo Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility makes recommendations to the independent legal entity of the University at Buffalo Foundation’s Investment Committee and other relevant bodies on matters of social, governmental and environmental importance, while always recognizing the importance of maximizing investment return for University purposes. The Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility is charged with making professional recommendations based on best practices across the higher education sector that align with core University values—not those of individual committee members.  In addition, the Committee on Investor Responsibility will work to employ a triple bottom line approach—a framework with three parts: social, environmental and governance—in their analysis and recommendations.

Objectives

·       Create a proactive strategy that aligns investment options with institutional values, maximizes long term sustainable revenue and reduces risk to society

·       Advance & increase institutional ranking through the Sustainable Tracking, Assessment Rating System

·       Leverage university student engagement and faculty expertise in the field of corporate responsibility

·       Increase transparency where appropriate in response to larger external megatrends

·       Properly utilizes UBF investments as an operational pedagogical teaching tool for students

Progress

As of November 2017, the Responsible Investment Committee has formally requested action from the UBF with the following ask:

The University at Buffalo’s Responsible Investment Committee—appointed by University senior leaders and comprised of faculty, students and professional staff—respectfully requests that the University at Buffalo Foundation Investment Committee direct the UBF Executive Director and investment manager Mercer to:

1)    Publicly disclose (on its website and or by other means) that it does not directly invest in fossil fuel companies & explain, for context, the general make-up of UBF’s investments (e.g. no individual stock picking)

2)    Pledge that the Foundation will not make any future direct investment in fossil fuel companies, partnerships and or joint ventures

3)    Conduct a sustainability analysis on the traditional portion of the UBF endowment/portfolio through Mercer’s sustainability filter and disclose those findings to the UB Responsible Investment Committee

4)    Continue working with the UB Responsible Investment Committee to advance best practice responsible investing under the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment, Rating System (STARS), which includes but is not limited to:

·        Positive sustainability investment which includes direct investment in sustainable industries, sustainability investment funds, socially responsible mutual funds with positive screens, etc.

·        Investor engagement including negative screens, shareholder resolutions, proxy voting, etc.

·        Increasing investment transparency

Membership

Martha Bohm, Assistant Professor, Architecture and Planning

Colleen Culleton, Associate Professor, Romance Lanugages and Literatures

Trina Hamilton, Associate Professor, Geography

Ryan McPherson, Chief Sustainability Officer

Errol Meidinger, Director the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy

Derek Nichols, Sustainability Engagement Coordinator

Aidan Powell, UB Student

Ed Schneider, Executive Director, UB Foundation

Debabrata Talukdar, Professor, School of Management 

Cristian-Ioan Tiu, Associate Professor, School of Management