Sustainability is a key priority for DMU and this extends to how it invests its funds. To ensure that its investments match those of its corporate priorities including sustainability the University has adopted an Ethical Investment Policy.
The policy is a key schedule of the University’s Treasury Policy and is reviewed on an annual basis by the University Finance and Human Resources Committee, a committee of the Board of Governors, which meets three times a year.
Any comments or suggestions regarding the University’s Ethical Investment Policy or how investments are made should be communicated to Karl Letten, Environmental & Sustainability Officer for DMU (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1.1 The University routinely invests funds with third party organisations through the investment of surplus funds and endowments. It also makes investments in spin-out companies and other related parties as these opportunities arise.
1.2 In deciding on counterparties and companies in which to invest, the University aims to remain consistent with ethical values in pursuit of its visions and values. In order to achieve these aims, the University will not knowingly invest in companies whose activities could be seen to endanger individuals or groups of people, or whose activities are inconsistent with the mission and values of the University, its community and its wider stakeholder network.
The University publishes a list of its investments to ensure open and transparent communication with its stakeholders. The University does not intentionally invest directly (or through collective funds) in organisations with high exposure to activities or substances which are injurious to health or the ecology, destabilise community cohesion, threaten international stability, or contribute to the development and maintenance of poverty, the abuse of children and the use of torture.
1.3 In order to ensure compliance with this policy the University will:
1.3.1 Consider the ethical implications of investments alongside the commercial opportunities.
1.3.2 Allow members of the University community and other relevant stakeholders to engage with the ethical investment policy by posting the policy on the University web pages with appropriate contact details.
1.3.3 Ensure that where fund managers undertake the University’s investments that they operate to socially responsible objectives consistent with those of the University.
2 Short Term Deposits.
2.1 The bulk of the University’s Investments are through money market deposits with UK Banks and Building Societies as described in the Treasury Policy and approved by the Finance and Human Resources Committee. (F&HRC).
2.2 The Banks and Building Societies, when considered as counterparties, are asked for details of their ethical investment policy.
3.1 A list of all investments is included in the University’s Accounts published annually.
3.2 It is not the policy of the University to invest in equity holdings through the stock market. At present there are equity holdings as detailed in the Annual Accounts published annually. In the main these are legacy holdings of minimal value resulting from the development of spin out opportunities by the University.
3.3 The holdings are grouped as required by statute:
- Shareholdings in subsidiary undertakings,
- Other investments
- Endowment asset investments.
3.3.1 Other Investments
The University also has holdings in ‘spin out companies’ set up to strengthen research and regional engagement; to maintain financial sustainability and develop intellectual property owned by or originating from the University
3.3.2 Endowed Funds
The Endowment Funds are held separately to general funds in the Coif Charities Funds. These funds are specifically for Charities, Faith Organisations and Local Authorities and are managed by CCLA Investment Management Ltd. CCLA are considered pioneers of ethical and responsible investment and are committed to pushing forward a positive agenda for change on behalf of their clients. See: http://www.ccla.co.uk/.
4 Pension Scheme Investments
The pension schemes used by the University are multi-employer funds constituted as separate corporate bodies with their own boards of trustees. Consequently, the schemes’ funds are invested entirely separately from those of the University.
Ethical commitments through investments
DMU works with CCLA to manage its endowment investments in an ethical and socially responsible manner. CCLA has a number of key policies which ensure this happens. These commitments include that CCLA will not invest in:-
- Companies that have any involvement in the production of landmines or cluster bombs (inc. critical parts)
- Companies that have considerable involvement (›33% of turnover) in tobacco, the production of pornography, and online gambling
- Any company that is primarily focused on coal or tar sands production.
CCLA also have an engagement programme with companies to encourage them to change what they do.
Companies that continue, after persistent engagement, to violate international and/or industry norms in relation to the following will be excluded:
- public health in the UK (alcohol and food).
- human rights, employment standards and climate change disclosure (relevant companies in developed markets).
CCLA are also supporting the low carbon transition through engagement and targeted restrictions on extractives and utilities sector companies:
- Who generate >10% of turnover from energy coal or oil sands
- Who do not score a ‘C’ on the A-E CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) Carbon Performance Bands
- Where productive engagement is not possible