Sustainable & Responsible Investments Report

Fiscal Year 2019

The Amherst College Office of Investments and Investment Committee are committed to a dynamic and ongoing process of inquiry, analysis and engagement with Amherst’s investment partners around environmental, social, and governance considerations.


Portfolio Update

$2.5b

Value of the Amherst College endowment for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019

100%

Percentage of the College’s managers with whom the Investment Office has engaged about sustainability

36

Proxies voted in alignment with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles

0

The portfolio has no direct holdings in coal companies


pie chart: info in caption

Cash Equivalents 5%; Real Estate 0.5%; Natural Resources 7%; Public Equity 31%; Private Equity 32%; Absolute Return 18%; Fixed Income 7%.

Existing Manager Engagement

Amherst currently partners with 73 investment managers, spanning a range of asset classes.  The Office of Investments and Investment Committee are committed to engaging with our managers.  The College continues to have thoughtful dialogue with its managers around the issue of sustainability, and has incorporated a review of sustainability practices into internal manager write-ups.


Sustainable & Responsible Investment Efforts

  • The College consistently evaluates and votes shareholder proxies in alignment with ESG principles, advocating for corporate accountability with respect to social, ethical, environmental and governance issues.

  • The College engages prospective investment managers in dialogue during the due diligence process to understand their approach and commitment to integrating ESG considerations into their investment process. Amherst looks to invest with managers who thoughtfully and consistently incorporate ESG factors into their investment diligence and process.


Proxy Voting

The College continues to use the voting rights attached to the shares of companies in which it invests to promote the principles of sustainable and responsible investment, utilizing research from ISS for all proxies before casting votes in alignment with these principles. In FY 2019, the College voted a total of 36 proxies for directly held stocks within the portfolio.

pie chart: info in caption

Voting Categories: Shareholder Rights and Defenses 11%; Auditor Related 21%; Board of Directors Related 27%; Capital/Corporate Structure 9%; Compensation Issues 27%; Political Contributions/Lobbying 2%; Labor/Human Rights/Consumer 3%.
pie chart: info in caption
ESG Issues: Labor/Human Rights/Consumer 50%; Political Contributions/Lobbying 50%.

Of these, 16 proxies included various shareholder proposals for a wide range of issues, including reporting on lobbying payments and political spending, reporting on employment diversity, and revising and adopting human rights policies.

There were 8 shareholder proposals specific to ESG issues, all of which the College voted in favor of.

See the Investment Office website for additional information: https://www.amherst.edu/offices/office_of_the_chief_financial_officer/investments


Memberships & Other Engagement

Name

Purpose

Participation

EIRIS

(Conflict Risk Network)

A network of institutional investors, financial service providers and related stakeholders calling on corporations to fulfill their responsibility to respect human rights and to take steps that support peace and stability in areas affected by genocide and mass atrocities. 

Member since 2009

Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR)

Ceres’ INCR provides a forum for investors to share information, intelligence, experiences and strategies on integrating climate and other ESG factors into investment decision making.

Member since 2015

ISS

ISS researches and provides recommendations for proxy voting in alignment with social and responsible investment principles.

Partner since 2007