Over the past two years, we’ve worked with the University of Toronto leadership to reinforce and enhance UTAM’s commitment to responsible investing. Our aim is clear: to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into all of our investment decision-making in order to better manage risk and generate sustainable returns over the long term. Now we’re pleased to make that commitment explicit in a formal Responsible Investing Policy.

In December 2016, UTAM, on behalf of the University of Toronto, became a signatory to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) – a set of shared commitments adopted by investors around the globe as they work to integrate ESG considerations into their processes. Since then, we’ve added our support to a range of international responsible investing initiatives, including the CDP disclosure system and the May 2017 “Letter from Global Investors to Governments of the G7 and G20 Nations,” which urges governments to stand by the pledges they made in signing the Paris climate accord. Most recently, we’ve become an active participant in Climate Action 100+, an investor-led initiative to engage with more than 100 of the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters in an effort to reduce emissions, strengthen disclosure and improve governance on climate change issues.

Our comprehensive Responsible Investing Policy is designed to guide all of UTAM’s decision-making in this area, from the management of our internal processes and systems, to our conduct of proxy voting and ESG-related engagements. Our policy reflects the widely endorsed PRI framework, whose six core principles can be summarized as follows:

  • Integrate ESG factors into all of our investment decision-making.
  • Incorporate ESG issues in our policies and practices as an active owner.
  • Encourage ESG-related disclosure by all entities in which we invest.
  • Promote the implementation of PRI across the investment industry.
  • Work with other investors to be more effective in applying the principles.
  • Report on our activities and progress toward PRI-based responsible investing.

UTAM’s commitment to responsible investing is not a one-time declaration. It’s the continuation of a journey – on a path defined by learning, adaptation, innovation and evolving best practices – to deliver the best possible value to the University of Toronto’s endowment and pension beneficiaries. Moving forward, we’ll continue working with other like-minded investors worldwide to strengthen and refine what responsible investing can accomplish. Having a formal policy in place at UTAM will provide clear guideposts for our own practices.