Endowments, others form ESG peer-to-peer network

The $1.4 billion California State University endowment, $1.1 billion Middlebury College endowment and 21 other asset owners, all together representing $22 billion in assets launched a peer-to-peer network to support endowment investment practices that address environmental, social, governance and other sustainability factors, the group announced Monday in a news release.

The Intentional Endowments Network was founded by the asset owners and 54 money managers and other organizations to exchange ideas to strengthen their approaches to ESG in order to enhance investment returns and “align with institutional mission and values,” the news release said.

The network seeks to encourage peer-to-peer connection, learning, thought leadership and collaborative action regarding ESG risks and opportunities, the release said.

“The culture, approaches and size of the endowment funds are different,” Georges Dyer, IEN principal, said in an interview. The network provides space to share experience, knowledge and challenges where they can learn from each other as well as money managers and others that belong to the network, Mr. Dyer said.

The founding asset owners also include the $783 million Carleton College endowment, $770 million University of Massachusetts Foundation, $643 million Arizona State University Foundation, $518 million University of Dayton endowment, $227 million Lewis & Clark College endowment and $192 million Ball State University Foundation, Mr. Dyer said in a follow-up e-mail.

Founding money managers include UBS Asset Management and Calvert Investments.