Derek Zinn, Jargal Ganzorig, Connor Wing, Kameron Eck
Toni Sipic (Economics)
Investors are increasingly playing an active role in influencing environmental and social impacts of companies and markets. Concerns with climate change and social movements have raised the prominence of corporate responsibility with their employees and investors alike. Shareholders promote disclosure transparency, corporate social responsibility and corporate sustainability to help ensure a healthy economy and preserve sustainable long-term returns. Universities have joined this growing chorus of investors and have started to reevaluate their endowments to better fit their missions. This has been encouraged by a growing academic literature on socially and environmentally responsible investing suggesting that such strategies have performed as well or better than traditional approaches.
In this study we analyze Central Washington University (CWU) financial investments and score them along environmental, social, and governance (ESG) categories. We then assess their financial performance, and compare it to potential alternatives with higher and lower ESG ratings. This research is conducted by the CWU Council on Investor Responsibility (CIR) subgroup that advises the University, through the office of the CFO, regarding environmental and social governance concerns that might influence the management of the University’s investments. The results of the study seek to provide transparency to University investment holdings and decisions, advise on relevant ESG-related investing issues to ensure the Universities holdings match its mission and values, advise the VP of Business and Financial Affairs on socially responsible investment policy issues by proposing written policies for the Board of Trustees’ consideration.
Keywords: Sustainabilty, Diveristy, Investments