MONTREAL--(BUSINESS WIRE)--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.
“We believe that being socially and environmentally responsible in our investments is the surest way to be Concordia University’s best possible fund management partner,” says Howard Davidson, Chair of the Board of the Concordia University Foundation. Investing in sustainability is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. The Foundation has already been working in that direction and this is a last push toward 100% sustainable investments.”
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 per cent.
Its work over the last few years and the commitments made today are in line with Concordia University’s long-standing efforts to promote its core values of environmental responsibility, social responsibility and sustainability. This 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.
“Promoting sustainability and fighting climate change are priorities for the Concordia community,” says Graham Carr, Concordia’s interim President. “Our researchers, students, faculty and staff are all engaged around this issue and want to be part of the solution. The Foundation’s commitments are crucial next steps in our sustainability journey”.
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 pr cent 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.