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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.02
Liaison Sara McKinstry
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of California, San Diego
PA-9: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.09 / 4.00 Amy Jaffe
Senior Advisor to the Chief Investment Officer
University of California Office of the President
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution wish to pursue Option 1 (positive sustainability investment)?:
Yes

Total value of the investment pool:
11,500,000,000 US/Canadian $

Value of holdings in each of the following categories:
Value of Holdings
Sustainable industries (e.g. renewable energy or sustainable forestry) 50,000,000 US/Canadian $
Businesses selected for exemplary sustainability performance (e.g. using criteria specified in a sustainable investment policy) 0 US/Canadian $
Sustainability investment funds (e.g. a renewable energy or impact investment fund) 110,000,000 US/Canadian $
Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) or the equivalent 0 US/Canadian $
Socially responsible mutual funds with positive screens (or the equivalent) 0 US/Canadian $
Green revolving loan funds that are funded from the endowment 0 US/Canadian $

A brief description of the companies, funds, and/or institutions referenced above:

In 2017 the endowment made a $50 million commitment to Congruent Ventures, a new energy seed-stage venture capital fund, which is a clean tech investment firm seeded with capital from the investment office and which sources investment opportunities from throughout the UC system. The fund is also invested in Pattern Energy, a renewable power company. The endowment also made a $25 million investment in Pattern Energy, a renewable power company.

In 2017 the endowment also made a $35 million investment in TPG Rise Impact Fund, TPG’s impact investment fund.

Additionally, the investment office has liquidated its high-yield bond holdings of of Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) operating companies ETP and SUNOCO. In 2015 the office sold its holdings in the world’s largest coal mining firms and firms that generate profits from Canadian oil sands mining.

In 2015 the University of California became the first and largest founder of the Aligned Intermediary, which helps long-term investors identify investable climate infrastructure projects in clean energy, water infrastructure and waste-to-value. In 2017 the UC endowment made a $50 million sustainable agriculture investment through the AI platform.

That same year, the UC became the first and only institutional investor that is a signatory to the Bill Gates Breakthrough Energy Coalition to accelerate clean energy solutions.

UC also works to partner with family offices and other investors, sourcing ideas from our national labs and agricultural centers.


Percentage of the institution's investment pool in positive sustainability investments:
1.39

Does the institution wish to pursue Option 2 (investor engagement)?:
Yes

Does the institution have a publicly available sustainable investment policy?:
Yes

A copy of the sustainable investment policy:
The sustainable investment policy:
Does the institution use its sustainable investment policy to select and guide investment managers?:
Yes

A brief description of how the policy is applied, including recent examples:

We approach sustainability both from a risk management and investment opportunity perspective. We believe that sustainability can help us increase our risk-adjusted returns over the long term by helping us manage long horizon risks.

As part of the overall due diligence process and ongoing assessment every investment manager is reviewed and scored against the UC’s sustainability framework.

In 2017 the endowment made a $50 million commitment to Congruent Ventures, a new energy seed-stage venture capital fund, which is a clean tech investment firm seeded with capital from the investment office and which sources investment opportunities from throughout the UC system. The fund is also invested in Pattern Energy, a renewable power company. The endowment also made a $25 million investment in Pattern Energy, a renewable power company.

In 2017 the endowment also made a $35 million investment in TPG Rise Impact Fund, TPG’s impact investment fund.

Additionally, the investment office has liquidated its high-yield bond holdings of of Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) operating companies ETP and SUNOCO. In 2015 the office sold its holdings in the world’s largest coal mining firms and firms that generate profits from Canadian oil sands mining.

In 2015 the University of California because the first and largest founder of the Aligned Intermediary, which helps long-term investors identify investable climate infrastructure projects in clean energy, water infrastructure and waste-to-value. In 2017 the UC endowment made a $50 million sustainable agriculture investment through the AI platform.

That same year, the UC became the first and only institutional investor that is a signatory to the Bill Gates Breakthrough Energy Coalition to accelerate clean energy solutions.

UC also works to partner with family offices and other investors, sourcing ideas from our national labs and agricultural centers.


Has the institution engaged in proxy voting, either by its CIR or other committee or through the use of guidelines, to promote sustainability during the previous three years?:
Yes

A copy of the proxy voting guidelines or proxy record:
---

A brief description of how managers are adhering to proxy voting guidelines:

The investment office votes its proxies in accordance with ISS ESG guidelines.


Has the institution filed or co-filed one or more shareholder resolutions that address sustainability or submitted one or more letters about social or environmental responsibility to a company in which it holds investments during the previous three years?:
Yes

Examples of how the institution has engaged with corporations in its portfolio about sustainability issues during the previous three years:

The investment office has worked with outside groups such as Ceres and the 30 Percent Coalition on shareholder engagements. We have also partnered with other investment managers to engage with companies over key issues, such as diversity, and will from time to time engage in direct dialogs with companies on our own as and when we deem appropriate to do so.

In 2016 for example the UC was a co-filler on a resolution by Exxon Mobile shareholders, requesting that the company requesting that the company publish a two-degree scenario analysis. Although originally defeated a similar resolution was successful in 2017. This past February the company published its first such analysis. The investment office has since engaged in a dialog with the company about its report.

We are currently involved in a joint share holder engagement effort with the California State Teachers Retirement System concerning board diversity.


Does the institution have a publicly available investment policy with negative screens?:
Yes

A brief description of the negative screens and how they have been implemented:

The Office of the Chief Investment officer applies a handful of negative screens to its investments. These include: companies doing business in the Sudan, companies that derive a significant amount of their revenue from thermal coal or oil sands, tobacco companies, and business which operate private prisons. We also screen for fire arms manufactures.

Regent Policy 6301: POLICY TO EXCLUDE SECURITIES OF COMPANIES MANUFACTURING TOBACCO PRODUCTS FROM INDEX FUNDS AND TO CONTINUE EXISTING EXCLUSION FROM ACTIVELY MANAGED FUNDS
http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/policies/6301.html
Regents Policy 6302: POLICY ON DIVESTMENT OF UNIVERSITY HOLDINGS IN COMPANIES WITH BUSINESS OPERATIONS IN SUDAN
http://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/policies/6302.html


Approximate percentage of the endowment that the negative screens apply to:
100

Does the institution engage in policy advocacy by participating in investor networks and/or engage in inter-organizational collaborations to share best practices?:
Yes

A brief description of the investor networks and/or collaborations:

The UC Investment Office participates in a number of climate related investment groups, and will engage with companies either directly or as part of a broader group. Recent engagements have included dialogues with energy companies over their two-degree scenario planning as well as their concerns for the rights of indigenous peoples and other factors. We participate in regular calls and share learning with other investors as part of Ceres, the Investors & Indigenous Peoples Working Group, and other networks. We also have supported efforts related to the redrafting of the Equator Principles. Through the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), UC has worked to encourage all companies to adhere to the findings of the task force. In 2016, UC became a signatory to the UN Global Compact, and continues to work with the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in forwarding our sustainable investment goals including participating in conferences, meetings and working groups.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The UC San Diego Foundation has approximately 70% of its endowment invested in the General Endowment Pool of the UC Regents. We cannot pull out yet information specific to UCSD holdings.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.