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Benchmarking RI at Canadian Universities

Endowment Evolution: A groundbreaking study comparing responsible investment by Canadian Universities

CURI’s pilot benchmark study, Endowment Evolution, assesses Canada’s twelve largest university endowment funds’ policies and performance on responsible investment (RI).

Amongst various aspects, the study evaluates Canadian universities’ regular disclosure reports against sustainability performance criteria and the integration of RI approaches in universities’ overall sustainability framework. By adopting a multi-stakeholder approach, the project engages key stakeholder groups including RI industry organizations, leading academic figures and civil society organizations and invites university administrators to review their performance. Endowment Evolution aims to stimulate dialogue on how the RI agenda should be moved forward in a strategic manner across Canadian universities.

Some of the report’s headline findings include:

  • Only York University explicitly references a commitment to environmental, social and governance issues, as part of its investment philosophy.
  • Just 3 universities – Queen’s University, the University of Toronto and York University – require expertise in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues for asset management.
  • None of the twelve universities disclose what proxy voting guidelines are issued to their investment managers, to whom proxy voting is delegated. Due to the lack of transparency on such guidance it is not possible to verify whether ESG factors are included.
  • Canadian universities also largely fall short in stakeholder engagement. The University of Toronto and McGill  University are notable exceptions for their multi-stakeholder advisory investment committees.

See the full profiles for each university by clicking on the links below:

3 1 University of Toronto
3.2 University of British Columbia
3.3 McGill University
3.4 University of Alberta
3.5 Queens University
3.6 McMaster University
3.7 University of Calgary
3.8 Dalhousie University
3.9 Western University
3.10 York University
3.11 University of Victoria
3.12 University of Waterloo

The press release associated with this report is available at the following link.

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