On April 29 and 30, ICCR and Xavier University’s Department of Sustainability hosted an event intended to catalyze discussion and action at the community level around investment solutions to climate change. The initiative was facilitated by representatives of the Region VI Coalition for Responsible Investment and made possible through a grant from the Sisters of Charity Ministries Foundation.
Roughly 90 people from the Cincinnati region joined us at Xavier’s Cintas Center for a two-day event including a panel discussion on the evening of April 29 featuring local representatives from the business, academic, investor and media communities and a more informal workshop on April 30 where practical and actionable solutions were explored to build local capacity around the financing of climate solutions. Panelists included representatives from Procter & Gamble, Macy’s and Fifth Third Bank that are headquartered in Cincinnati, as well as representatives of anchor institutions such as Xavier University, Mercy Health, Green Umbrella and the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.
Participants in the Invested in Change event included local members of faith, environmental, academic, investor and corporate communities with a shared commitment to explore how they could best combine their talents and resources to make an impact on climate change. The main panel on April 29 convened ICCR’s ED Laura Berry; Procter & Gamble’s Vice President, Global Sustainability, Len Sauers; David Zellner, Chief Investment Officer of Wespath Investments; and, Anas Malik, Associate Professor of Political Science at Xavier to discuss what is currently being done to address climate change and what is needed to speed the transition to the new, green economy. The discussion was moderated by Carolyn Washburn, editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Breakout discussions focused on the following themes:
Productive engagement, how collaboration leads to change and framing what it takes for investors and corporations to work together; what investors are doing now including asset allocation/diversification, understanding fiduciary duty and the shifts that are needed in institutional investment policies; what we can build together through investment opportunities, and a discussion of expectations regarding financial and environmental performance. We were also joined by a panel of students from Xavier’s department of sustainability – the voices of the next generation of sustainable investors.
Common platforms to assess and benchmark corporate performance on climate concerns;
- Guidance around the incorporation of ESG considerations in portfolio management;
- Positive climate financing options, with an emphasis on local opportunities; and,
- Educational programs to help establish common understandings around climate issues and how they are best addressed.
There was particular interest in learning more about community-based investment programs that might catalyze more sustainable energy solutions and in developing channels whereby local groups might connect to broader climate financing efforts. ICCR introduced its new investor toolkit, Invested in Change, which describes the different strategies available to investors and offers a set of questions investors wishing to address the issue may want to consider.
“ICCR truly models collaboration and engagement regarding concerns about global economic stability and social justice,” said Sr. Sally Duffy of SC Ministry Foundation.
“The convening in April focused on climate, capital and collaboration, and actions to minimize the real risk of climate change. SC Ministry Foundation is deeply grateful to partner in this convening and
grateful to all the sponsors, participants and speakers who shared their expertise and hopes on our collective journey to sustainability and to be change agents for solutions to climate change. We hope that the convening and the toolkit “Invested in Change: Faith-Consistent Investing in a Climate-Challenged World” will serve as resources and catalysts to actions leading to fulfillment of ICCR’s 2015 climate change strategy through shareholder engagement and policy advocacy.”eby local groups might connect to broader climate financing efforts. ICCR introduced its new investor toolkit, Invested in Change, which describes the different strategies available to investors and offers a set of questions investors wishing to address the issue may want to consider.
Said Anne Dougherty of Xavier University’s Office of Sustainability, “Hosting ICCR in our town was an unusual opportunity to connect our friends in a different setting -- socially active investors met cor
porate leaders, who met sustainability students in a forum as equals -- and we collectively were surprised by the amount of work already going on. Students, professors, and staff of Xavier University were grateful for the opportunity to host and participate in the ICCR forum and round table.”