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CIO calls for more social responsibility

Jagdeep Singh Bachher believes more endowments need to join PRI.

The chief investment officer of the University of California System, Oakland, called for more endowments and foundations to embrace investing in socially responsible investments, including initiatives to help reduce environmental effects from climate change.

Jagdeep Singh Bachher, speaking July 28 at a conference sponsored by Principles for Responsible Investments in Berkeley, Calif., said it makes investment sense and was necessary for the earth's sustainability. “We need to catch up,” said Mr. Bachher, noting that only a small group of endowments and foundations in the U.S. have joined PRI and are actively embracing socially responsible investing.

UC over the past year has announced it is committing more than $1 billion to various clean and alternative energy initiatives aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change.

Mr. Bachher said one concern of endowments and foundations might be that they lack technical knowledge. He urged the asset owners to join a new group formed by UC and the NZ$30 billion ($19.7 billion) New Zealand Superannuation Fund, Auckland, among other investors, to help educate institutional investors about investments related to climate change mitigation.

The University of California's office of the chief investment officer manages around $90 billion for the university's endowment, pension fund and investment pools.

This article originally appeared in the August 10, 2015 print issue as, "CIO calls for more social responsibility".