Non-profit organization works to engage with investee companies around environmental, social justice, and governance issues
Mount Allison University is one of 10 universities across Canada who are launching University Network for Investor Engagement (UNIE) through the Shareholder Association for Research & Education.
The network, a coalition of Canadian university endowments and pension plans, is a new initiative to engage with North American public companies in the areas of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG), including carbon footprint and climate risk.
“The UNIE group gives universities a vehicle to collectively engage with companies in which they invest in the areas of environmental, social, and corporate governance, including engagement on climate change,” says Robert Inglis, Mount Allison’s Vice-President, Finance and Administration. “Mount Allison is pleased to be a founding member of the network and we look forward to working with the Shareholder Association for Research & Education and other universities in the area of responsible investing.”
Inglis is also a member of a national committee of university representatives, CAUBO Climate Change Steering Committee, looking at how university campuses calculate and understand their operational carbon footprint.
Mount Allison is the first university in Atlantic Canada to participate in the coalition, co-ordinated by the Shareholder Association for Research & Education, a Canadian non-profit investor advocacy organization based in Toronto. The award-winning organization mobilizes investor leadership for a sustainable, inclusive, and productive economy.
“These universities are showing leadership in addressing the climate crisis. Acting as investors, Canadian university pension plans and endowments can have a powerful influence on corporate behaviour. Working together in one program amplifies each institution’s voice and leverages their power to bring about change,” said Kevin Thomas, Chief Executive Officer at Shareholder Association for Research & Education.
The new higher-education-specific group was formed through dialogue between the Shareholder Association for Research & Education and university leaders about how institutions could collectively respond to ESG concerns, including the climate crisis. Discussion started more than a year ago and continued through online meetings during the course of 2020.
The UNIE initiative is focused both on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy.
Mount Allison University has integrated environmental, social, and governance (ESG) in its investing principles, policies, and practices, most recently as a founding signatory with UNIE. In 2018, the University became an asset owner signatory with the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI), filing its first report in 2019.
PRI signatories are required to report publicly on their responsible investment activities each year. The University uses the annual report as a basis for further improvements in responsible investment activities and reporting. More information about Mount Allison’s approach to Responsible Investing can be found at: https://www.mta.ca/Community/Administrative_departments/Financial_Services/Financial_reports/Responsible_Investment_Report/Responsible_Investment_Report/ and the UNPRI at www.unpri.org.