What: Half-day forum for institutional investors on emerging themes in climate investment
Where: The Sierra Club Foundation, 2101 Webster St, Oakland, CA 10115
When: Thursday, February 16, from 2-5 pm PT
Who: This event is for funders (foundations, family offices, and individual donors), Confluence Advisors Bay Members, and invited institutional investors.
The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement gave us a mandate to build a clean and safe energy future. With a target to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the treaty requires a rapid transition from fossil fuels to an advanced energy economy powered by renewables and clean technology. Governments cannot do it alone. Powerful forces in business, philanthropy and civil society must rally also to accelerate the transition underway.
Join Confluence Philanthropy and DivestInvest Philanthropy for a high-level forum on the catalytic role Institutional Investors can and must play in a time of climate change. The conversation will be grounded in two new reports -- by Mercer Consulting and Croatan Institute, respectively -- that preview exciting investment opportunities in the clean energy future. The Mercer Report will catalogue clean investment-grade opportunities across all asset classes of a traditional foundation portfolio. The Croatan Report takes a closer look at community-based investments for capitalizing an energy transition that builds a just and fair economy for all.
The reports are dropping in the midst of a charged atmosphere on the fiduciary duty of institutional investors to consider climate risk in managing their portfolios. A new report by the G20’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures last December concluded that climate change is a material risk that isn’t properly disclosed by public companies. With major implications for the fossil fuel industry and their investors, the Task Force calls on companies to stress-test how their business model will fare in a 2 degree world, and disclose these findings in financial statements. It follows that investors with fiduciary duties must grapple with climate risk, as they would any other material risk to financial performance. Trustees for mission-driven investors, such as foundations, face an even higher burden: Growing legal scholarship in the US, UK and Canada, suggest a fiduciary duty to ensure investments do not undercut mission - a duty which could become a legally enforceable obligation over time.
At this discussion, participants will reflect on these trends and consider options suggested in the new reports. We anticipate the conversation will offer concrete ways forward for institutions to better manage their portfolios, mindful of the risks and opportunities in a time of climate change.
Speakers to include:
- Ginny Quick, CFO, Sierra Club Foundation
- Josh Humphreys, President, Croatan Institute
- Ellen Friedman, Executive Director, Compton Foundation
- Richard Woo, CEO, The Russell Family Foundation
- Alex Bernhardt, Principal, US Responsible Investment Leader, Mercer Investments
- Morgan Simon, Managing Director, Pi Investments
Confluence Philanthropy is a non-profit, membership-based association of foundations, high net worth investors and their investment advisors who collaborate in Mission-Related Investing (MRI), the process of integrating investment strategy with social and/or environmental goals. Confluence Members represent a combined $3 trillion in assets under management, with more than $61.5 billion designated as philanthropic capital. Members are committed to full mission alignment when prudent and feasible. Based in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Canada and Puerto Rico, our members collectively invest around the world.
Divest-Invest Philanthropy is a group of over 150 foundations around the world that have pledged to divest from fossil fuels and invest in climate solutions. Our signatories are diverse in size, geography and mission focus -- ranging from family offices in Hong Kong to global foundations with endowments exceeding $4 billion. A full list can be viewed here.
Our common cause is rooted in the belief that our investments should not undercut our mission: Climate change affects the ability of each and every foundation to carry out its important work, yet the historical firewall separating grants and investments means that most foundations inadvertently finance the industry driving climate change. Divest-Invest seeks to harmonize investments, grants and values so that the full weight of philanthropy is brought to bear on the most pressing challenge of our time.
From its beginning on college campuses, the fossil fuel divestment movement has grown exponentially over the past few years to over 500 institutions and 50,000 individuals representing $3.4 trillion in assets, including universities, foundations, religious institutions, health care systems and hospitals, pension funds, municipalities, and now banking.