UBC adopted its first Responsible Investing Policy in April 2014. This policy was developed in collaboration between UBC Treasury, Office of the University Counsel, UBC Investment Management, representatives of peer institutions, and with leaders in the responsible investment field. The policy provided guidance for consideration of environmental, social, and governance factors in the investment decision-making process.
In 2022, UBC Investment Management developed its 2021 Responsible Investing Report, which outlines the details of their Responsible Investing Strategy and highlights UBC Investment Management's progress in 2021 working on behalf of the funds they manage. Since the policy’s initial adoption, UBC has undertaken additional work to refine the responsible investing approach and reflect current environmental, social and governance findings into our policy.
UBC is updating the Statements on Responsible Investing, which will replace UBC’s current Responsible Investing Policy. The policy was first approved in 2013 and was last updated in 2014. Since its initial adoption, UBC has undertaken additional work to refine the responsible investing approach and define responsible investing commitments and targets.
The updated Statements align with UBC’s 10-year Strategic Plan specifically in relation to Goal 5 to “lead globally and locally in sustainability, wellbeing, and safety across our campuses and communities” and Goal 10 to “lead as a model institution, fostering discourse, knowledge exchange and engagement” as the Statements provide transparency regarding UBC’s approach to responsible investing.
The publication of responsible investing principles reflects UBC’s responsible investing and broader sustainability leadership. The updated Statements ensure UBC’s alignment with industry best-practices and allows UBC to a be a leader within Higher Education regarding responsible investing strategies.
The Statements also align with the UBC’s Responsible Investing Strategy , which was developed by UBC Investment Management and endorsed by the Board in 2020, as well as the most recent Investment Management Agreement and Statement of Investment Policy, approved by the board in Spring 2022.
The UBC community is invited to comment on the Statement on Responsible Investing in preparation for the submission to the Board of Governors in the Spring of 2023. The feedback period will be open until February 17, 2023. Please send your feedback to email@example.com
View ‘Draft –Statements on Responsible Investing’ [PDF]
UBC Investment Management created and shared its inaugural 2021 Responsible Investing Report, which outlines the details of their Responsible Investing Strategy and highlights UBC Investment Management's progress in 2021 working on behalf of the funds they manage. UBC Investment Management announces several new investments in strategies seeking to advance the transition to a lower carbon economy and focus on strong ESG integration. The UBC Endowment continues to show strong progress toward its carbon reduction target in its public equity portfolio.
UBC and UBC Investment Management continue to demonstrate leadership among universities and endowments as our responsible investing journey continues. In 2021 UBC Investment Management released a Carbon Footprint Report, outlining the methodology used to calculate portfolio carbon emissions and setting a baseline figure for its public equity portfolios. In addition, as part of the UBC Endowment asset mix study, climate risk pathway analysis was incorporated into the strategic asset mix and spend rate analysis. UBC Investment Management also formalized its active ownership guidelines to establish key principles regarding active ownership when investing on behalf of UBC.
In April, 2020, UBC’s Board of Governors passed a motion that committed UBC to become a global leader in its comprehensive response to the climate emergency. In so doing, the university reaffirmed its approach to divestment, aiming to reduce climate change-related financial risk in its Endowment through the continued application of ESG (environmental, social and governance) investment practices, signing on to the UN Principles of Responsible Investing, and the reduction of carbon emissions and stranded fossil fuel assets.
During the second half of 2020, UBC’s Board of Governors endorsed UBC Investment Management's comprehensive Responsible Investing Strategic Plan.
The Responsible Investing Strategy includes strengthening UBC’s advocacy and leadership in responsible investing practices. In July 2020, UBC became a UN Principles of Responsible Investing signatory and a founding signatory of Investing to Address Climate Change: A Charter for Canadian Universities. In September 2020, UBC established an ambitious goal of reducing carbon emissions connected to the university’s Endowment portfolio by 45% by 2030.
In addition, an important commitment of the Responsible Investing Strategy was to provide enhanced transparency about the university’s Endowment portfolio holdings. As such, UBC Investment Management has made the Endowment public equities holdings available on the UBC Investment Management website and update the information semi-annually.
In 2019 UBC joined a growing list of schools, communities, and countries around the world in declaring a climate emergency and committed to divesting the UBC’s Endowment.
UBC directed UBC Investment Management to develop and adopt an investment approach that builds on existing responsible investing practices, further addresses climate risk, and helps to drive positive social change.
The Sustainable Future Pool (SFP) was established in 2017 as first step to understand the financial impact enhanced ESG measures (“Environmental, Social, Governance” – the reduction or exclusion of companies that own fossil fuels and a focus on reduced carbon emissions) would have on the Endowment’s performance. SFP is an endowment pool (group) within the UBC Endowment that is managed separately from the Main Endowment Pool.
The SFP was established to test, validate and research, investment strategies that specifically target lower carbon emissions and minimal (or no) fossil fuel holdings without materially negatively impacting the Endowment’s financial performance.
With the continued progress in implementing a comprehensive responsible investing framework, and in particular the commitment of UBC towards divestment of fossil fuels the Endowment, UBC has incorporated the learnings of the SFP into the entire Endowment. With this transition, the Sustainable Future Pool became part of the Main Endowment Pool in 2022.
After discussion with industry experts and peer institutions, the task group made a number of recommendations outlining options for incorporating ESG factors in the investment process. The UBC Board of Governors approved the policy on April 14, 2014.
An initial strategy was adopted in June 2013. The strategy identified ongoing investment in campus environmental and social projects, committed UBC to join the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, and appointed a task group to recommend further policy changes to the Board.
In 2010, the UBC's Responsible Investment Committee for the Endowment began discussions with external experts and other universities, as well as a review of best practices, to determine an effective approach to responsible investment for UBC’s Endowment.