The Concordia University Foundation committed today to end investments in the coal, oil and gas sector within five years. The Foundation also announced it would go further than this divestment and will be the first university foundation in Quebec with a target of 100% sustainable investments by 2025, including by doubling its social or environmental impact investment.
Since 2014, the Foundation, which acts as Concordia’s University’s primary investment arm, has succeeded in reducing the exposure of its investments to coal, oil and gas to just $14 million of its $243 million in assets – or 5.7%.
In September, Concordia signed a declaration, with nine other Quebec universities, committing to more sustainability education and research and carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest.
The Foundation has been a leader in sustainable investment since 2014 when it created a sustainable investment fund, making Concordia the first university in Canada to start divesting from coal, oil and gas. In 2016, it established a joint sustainable investment advisory committee – which includes student and faculty representatives – to make recommendations on socially and environmentally responsible investment opportunities.
In 2018, the Foundation became a signatory of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. That same year, it implemented a new responsible investment policy which integrates environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) aspects into decision-making. It also includes an impact investment policy — which focuses on factors such as education, community development and affordable housing, among others.
The Foundation is now doubling the target of its impact investment by 2025 from five to 10% of its long-term pool allocation dedicated toward investments made into companies, organizations and funds that generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. An example of such impact investment is the partnership it signed this year with Inerjys Ventures, a global investment firm committed to accelerating the adoption of cleantech. This partnership also involves Concordia students and researchers exchanging with the portfolio of green companies.
We are currently accepting submissions for the 2020 Environment + Energy Leader Awards. Learn more here.