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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 77.43
Liaison Claudia Frere-Anderson
Submission Date Oct. 14, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Washington, Seattle
PA-14: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.78 / 4.00 Ann Sarna
Associate Treasurer
Treasury Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total value of the investment pool:
3,076,000,000 US/Canadian $

Value of holdings in each of the following categories::
Value of Holdings
Sustainable industries (e.g. renewable energy or sustainable forestry) 349,000,000 US/Canadian $
Businesses selected for exemplary sustainability performance (e.g. using criteria specified in a sustainable investment policy) 150,000,000 US/Canadian $
Sustainability investment funds (e.g. a renewable energy or impact investment fund) 17,000,000 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:

The UW's investment portfolio includes endowment investments of $140 million in sustainable industries including solar, wind, sustainable forestry, biomass and geothermal energy and $209 million in sustainable University trust forest lands. The UW has $150 million of investments made in part because of a company's social or environmental performance. In addition, the UW has invested $17 million in sustainability investment funds.


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

A copy of the sustainable investment policy:
---

The sustainable investment policy:

University of Washington Treasury Office
Global Climate Change Initiatives - proposed and adopted November 2013.

The UW Investments Office Proposes the following actions to further the University’s efforts to support sustainability and the concern over global climate change.

1. Create New Research Assistant (RA) Position.
2. Increase alternative energy investments.
3. Incorporate ESG factors into investment analysis and decision making.
4. Explore opportunities for shareholder advocacy on climate change.
5. Establish a framework for future engagement with students.
These efforts are aligned with the broader University mission and will enhance the University’s position as a leader in sustainability.

From University of Washington's Statement's Investment Policy:

D. ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
1. While fiscal goals are of central importance, due consideration shall be given to the degree of
corporate responsibility exercised by the companies in which investments are made.
2. Direct investment in companies doing business in Sudan whose business activities support the
Sudanese government in its continuing sponsorship of genocidal actions and human rights
violations in Darfur is prohibited.
3. Direct investment in tobacco companies is prohibited.
4. Direct investment in coal companies whose principal business is the mining of coal for energy is prohibited.


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 UW used its Global Climate Change Initiative to guide the selection of an investment in a Global Environmental Opportunities funded January 2015.


Does the institution's sustainable investment policy include negative screens?:
Yes

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

1. While fiscal goals are of central importance, due consideration shall be given to the degree of corporate responsibility exercised by the companies in which investments are made.

2. Direct investment in companies doing business in Sudan whose business activities support the Sudanese government in its continuing sponsorship of genocidal actions and human rights violations in Darfur is prohibited.

3. Direct investment in tobacco companies is prohibited.

4. Direct investment in coal companies whose principal business is the mining of coal for energy is prohibited.


Approximate percentage of the endowment that the negative screens apply to:
34

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 UW's investment policies contains language regarding to proxy voting:

Take action as appropriate in support of shareholder resolutions related to human rights
violations in Burma. Engage in shareholder activism as appropriate on issues related to global climate change.

The UW works with CERES and outside vendors to identify proxies. The UW connects with investment managers before the proxy voting season to discuss the best process to communicate directions on specific proxies. The University has on going communications with investment managers during the proxy voting season and the UW confirms proxies are voted accordingly.


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 UW Consolidated Endowment Fund is prohibited from making direct investments in tobacco companies and in any companies that do business in Sudan "whose business activities support the Sudanese government in its continuing sponsorship of genocidal actions and human rights violations in Darfur."

The University is working with students and faculty on an engagement letter focused on carbon asset risk. Letter going out in fiscal year 2016.

The UW also participates with CERES' Investor Network on Climate Risk that works on issues that companies are facing, focusing on climate change, energy, water scarcity, and sustainability reporting.


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

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

The University participates in CERES, Investor Network on Climate Risk. The University is also a member of US SIF (Sustainable Investor Forum). US SIF – The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is the US membership association for professionals, firms, institutions and organizations engaged in sustainable, responsible, and impact investing. US SIF and its members advance investment practices that consider environmental, social and corporate governance criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive societal impact.


The website URL where information about the institution's sustainable investment efforts is available:

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.