PA-10: Sustainable Investment – version 2.2
Frequently Asked Questions
How has this credit changed between STARS 2.1 to 2.2?
Substantive changes have been made to this credit. Contextual variability has been applied to weight the credit more heavily for institutions with very large endowments and less heavily for institutions with very small endowments. A comprehensive list of differences can be found in the 2.2 Summary of changes.
How much information is required to support the values reported as sustainable investments?
- Part 1 – Response under “A brief description…” must reference each category of sustainable investment. Check for errors in how investments were classified.
- Part 2 – Descriptive responses must support affirmative responses.
Are there there other credits that ask for the same information?
Total value of the investment pool should be equal to or higher than what is reported under IC 2 for Endowment Size (endowment is a part of total investment pool). See related Help Center article on sharing information between credits.
How should cash reserves in the investment pool be treated?
Institutions that include cash reserves as part of the Investment pool should count the reserves as non-sustainable investment. If the protocol is to have a specific amount of cash on reserve with minimal or no fluctuation over time, then institutions have the option to deduct these standard cash reserves from the total investment pool.
Resources, Templates & Tools
- Writing a Responsible Investment Policy – Guidance for Asset Owners (Principles for Responsible Investment)
- Global Impact Investment Rating System (GIIRS)
- Global Impact Investing Network
- Principles for Responsible Investment
- Investor Network on Climate Risk
- Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
- Boston University – Comprehensive responses in both sections. The Notes field clarifies why there is a valid discrepancy in investment pool amounts between this credit and PRE 4.
- Dalhousie University – Detailed responses, particularly for Part 1. The response references changes to the investment management team to help advance integration of ESG into investment practices.
- Langara College – Comprehensive responses in both sections. References sustainability criteria in the investment policy, as well as documentation for progress on divestment from fossil fuel holdings.
- McGill University – Comprehensive responses in both sections. Great detail provided on sustainable investment holdings under Part 1.
- University of California, San Diego – Comprehensive responses in both sections. Great reporting example of a system-wide sustainable investment policy that can apply to any University of California institution.
- University of New Hampshire – Comprehensive responses in both sections. Recent efforts to proactively increase ESG investment are well-captured.
Common Issues Identified During Review
- A credit status of “Not Applicable” is only allowed if the institution does not have an endowment, or the institution’s endowment is less than US $1 million.
- Score outlier: Earning full points (or close to) may be the result of data entry errors such as double-counting, or credit misinterpretation. If a high score is reported, please review closely for the issues listed below.
- Part 1 – Response under “A brief description…” must reference each category of sustainable investment. The intent is to count each sustainable investment dollar one time, and listing it under the one category that is most appropriate. Double-counting must be avoided.
- Part 2 – Sustainable Investment Policy – The intent of this section is to reference a policy that includes specific sustainability or ESG language to be used to select investments and guide investment managers (i.e., positive screens). A published investment policy with sustainability language must be referenced.
- Data consistency: Total value of the investment pool should be equal to or higher than what is reported under PRE 4 for Endowment Size (endowment is a part of total investment pool). Valid discrepancies should be clarified in the Notes field.