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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 81.30
Liaison Sarah Munro
Submission Date June 30, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Connecticut
PA-9: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.57 / 4.00 Sarah Munro
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Environmental Policy
"---" 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:
324,912,841 US/Canadian $

Value of holdings in each of the following categories:
Value of Holdings
Sustainable industries (e.g. renewable energy or sustainable forestry) 5,727,288 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) 5,746,257 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:

The Foundation is invested in US Timberland through a private investment fund. The manager of this fund uses best in class land management practices to manage the land which includes a focus on sustainability.
The Foundation is also invested in a private venture capital impact investment fund, which focuses on making investments in small businesses that have a positive impact on society by promoting good environmental practices, creating good paying jobs in economically disadvantages areas and empowering women and minorities.
Additionally, the Foundation is invested in a private equity partnership with a focus on energy related organizations. This fund is invested in many renewable energy deals, including solar farms and renewable energy infrastructure. This firm has also purchased coal fired power plants with the intention of decommissioning their coal operations and installing a cleaner alternative energy source. Additionally, this partnership has invested in firms that are dedicated to providing green solutions across the energy chain, for example a coal power generation carbon capture system that significantly lowers airborne emissions and an investment in a nuclear power plant decommissioning and clean-up firm.
FY 2012 Portfolio Allocation is comprised of the following:
Global Equities: 35%
Private Capital: 16%
Real Estate: 7%
Relative Value: 6%
Global Macro: 3%
Opportunistic Strategies: 5%
HY Bonds: 4%
Natural Resources: 8%
TIPS: 5%
Investment Grade Bonds: 8%
Cash: 3%

The portfolio allocation does not vary significantly from year to year, and for FY13 should be very close to FY12.


Percentage of the institution's investment pool in positive sustainability investments:
3.53

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:

The Foundation’s investment policy is focused on governance, low volatility investment returns, institutional liquidity and investment manager selection. Issues that are controversial or relate to social issues are reviewed on a case by case basis to incorporate their potential long-term economic impacts through the monitoring of released quarterly reports from fund managers in relevant investments.
The Foundation’s divestment policy is focused on reducing its overall exposure in holdings of companies with business operations in Sudan through the monitoring of released quarterly reports from fund managers across all asset classes.
http://www.foundation.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/132/2017/01/pdf-uconn-foundation-sri.pdf


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:

The Foundation uses the investment policy to select and guide investment managers. A recent example would be the divestment policy regarding Sudan, as detailed below.


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?:
No

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

A brief description of how managers are adhering to proxy voting 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?:
No

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

The Foundation does not have any direct holdings of companies with which to file shareholder resolutions. All Foundation funds are in co-mingled funds with different fund managers.
However, in response to the recent strides to encourage endowments to divest from fossil fuels, there have been letters of opinion to encourage the University of Connecticut to take the necessary actions to make sure the endowment portfolio is vetted for the ownership in fossil-fuel companies. For example, in response to the 350.org campaign, Dr. William Upholt (http://regenerativemedicine.uchc.edu/faculty/bios/upholt.html) wrote a letter to UConn President Herbst addressing concerns about responsible investing by UConn. The UConn Foundation states that there are no direct holdings or ownership of public companies who are direct producers of fossil fuels.


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 Foundation has requested fund managers from different investment portfolios to consider divestment and to provide information on relevant holdings in order to track overall exposure to Sudan related holdings. The Foundation has reviewed its funds to monitor and gauge the extent of any holdings of fossil fuel companies or investments in the Sudan region through analysis and monitoring of quarterly reports. No direct holdings of fossil fuel producing companies exist.


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:

There has been a lot of discussion over investing in renewable energy and divesting in carbon-based energy in a variety of investment networks and list-servs of which the Foundation is a member, especially by colleges and universities. The Foundation continues to monitor and discuss the situation with other similarly situated university fund managers to determine the most effective course of action. Additionally, the Foundation has worked with UConn student managed funds and the funds held by the Alumni Association to review their holdings for sustainability.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
---

The UConn Foundation Investment Committee is actively drafting an updated Sustainable Investment Policy. The Foundation has engaged numerous student and faculty groups on campus to discuss concerns, preferences, and best practices around this topic.

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.