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Update on responsible investment

Trinity students, Fellows, staff and alumni are invited to hear about progress on responsible investment in the College’s endowment and to discuss social sustainability at a forum on 28 February 2022.

The speakers are Jeanette Andrews, Senior Global ESG Manager at Legal and General Investment Management, Mark Campanale, Founder of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, the Master Dame Sally Davies, Dr Ellen Quigley of Cambridge’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, and Trinity’s Senior Bursar, Richard Turnill.

Organised by the student-led Trinity Responsible Investment Society, this fourth annual forum takes place on Monday 28 February at 5pm in the Winstanley Lecture Theatre and via livestream.

It comes as the College concludes divestment from all fossil fuel exposure in public equities, in line with its investment policy. In February 2021 Trinity altered its investment policy such that the College’s £1.5 billion endowment would have a dual mandate: continuing to deliver sustainable long-run return and committing to improving its environmental footprint and achieving net zero before 2050.

Fossil fuel divestment is one of several steps towards net zero. The College has partnered with Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) to develop a bespoke, global equity index strategy, which excludes all fossil fuel investments.

 

Richard Turnill, Senior Bursar. Photo: Martin Bond

Mr Turnill said a significant part of the reason for selecting LGIM was the company’s broader credentials in environmental, social and governance investing and its alignment with Trinity’s commitment to having a significant, lasting and positive impact on improving its environmental footprint. He said:

Trinity has an ambitious plan to achieve net zero before 2050, and we’re pleased to have made the first step on this long-term journey through the divestment of all fossil fuel exposure in public equities. We are acutely aware, however, that divestment on its own is not sufficient to meet the planet’s urgent need to decarbonise.

Mr Turnill acknowledged that Trinity’s portfolio of securities and properties presented some challenges in reaching net zero but the ambitious plan was supported by the College community.

The College has completed a carbon mapping of its investment portfolio, set targets and continues to actively engage with companies in which it holds shares. The existing exclusion of tobacco in the College’s public equities has been extended to its indirect public holdings.

Mr Turnill said:

We are committed to establishing metrics and science-based targets that will allow us and others to chart the College’s progress towards net zero across the portfolio. We will report on these new targets alongside the financial performance of the endowment.

Our partnership with LGIM is also about understanding the actions that we need to take in order to reduce our carbon footprint and how we engage with stakeholders going forward to motivate for rapid change. LGIM’s record of engagement is a key part of the reason that we chose to work with them, as we wanted a partner who would help us on this journey to ensure we have a real world impact.

 

Nandini Shiralkar, President of TRIS.

Trinity Responsible Investment Society President, Nandini Shiralkar, a second-year Engineering student, said:

The annual Responsible Investment Forum is as much about celebrating what the College has already achieved with its divestment efforts as it is about looking ahead to shape our next priorities.

Beyond divestment she said there was ‘immense potential’ for institutions like Trinity to have a positive impact on many ethical fronts.

TRIS has turned its focus to the broader social impacts of the College’s investments. Considering social sustainability across supply chains, including the protection of human rights, issues of health and safety, and how investors can help improve working conditions, are a natural next step to the progress made so far by the College.

The Fourth Annual Responsible Investment Forum, Embedding Social Sustainability into Trinity’s Portfolio, takes place at 5pm on Monday 28 February in the Winstanley Lecture Theatre and via livestream. It is open to Trinity students, staff, Fellows and alumni. You can reserve an in-person place: https://forms.gle/fpHnsPbh2bAUdg2a7 or join the webinar: https://trin-cam-ac-uk.zoom.us/j/98033797239

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