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Saving the planet with a sustainable investment strategy

Chief Investment Officer Jeff Mindlin shares five ways the ASU Foundation for A New American University is working toward building a more sustainable and resilient future through socially responsible investing.

Arizona State University is a leader in the global movement to fight climate change and address the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges. The university demonstrates its commitment not only through its pioneering sustainability education and research but also its operations and practices.

№1: Abiding by our fiduciary responsibility

Our investment committee and staff have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interest of the ASU Foundation’s beneficiaries. We also must consider the environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts of our investment decisions.

Through our strategy, we invest in ways that promote the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities we serve.

As stewards, we invest prudently to drive superior, risk-adjusted returns, diversify the portfolio and use a sustainability lens at every point in the investment decision-making process. Our strategy is not predicated on where we don’t invest, but rather where we choose to allocate capital — to advance a sustainable, equitable future.

№2: Implementing sustainable investing strategies

We started out by creating an ESG subcommittee to elevate analysis and recommendations in the portfolio with both faculty and student representation. We use a proprietary scorecard to evaluate corporate sustainability metrics and carbon exposures as “you manage what is measured.” This helps ensure we’re investing in sustainable businesses and fully understand what we own in order to plan an appropriate course.

№3: Partnering with a global leader in investment management

We partnered with BlackRock Inc., which serves as our outsourced chief investment officer. We chose BlackRock because it is a global leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services.

№4: Educating the next generation on the importance of sustainable investing

In collaboration with the Julie Ann Wrigley School of Sustainability and W. P. Carey School of Business, we launched a sustainability-geared Student Investment Management Fund in 2018 with $800,000 from the endowment.

№5: Serving as a transformational catalyst with transparency and leadership in sustainable investing

We were a founding member of the Intentional Endowments Network. This is a peer-learning network of colleges, universities and other mission-driven institutional investors who work together to achieve risk and return objectives through investment actions that create a thriving, sustainable economy.

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About ASU Foundation

The foundation, a subsidiary of ASU Enterprise Partners, is a private, nonprofit organization that raises and invests private contributions to Arizona State University. It is one of Arizona’s oldest nonprofits.

ASU Foundation, one of Arizona’s oldest nonprofits, raises and invests private contributions to Arizona State University.

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