The University of Birmingham is committed to maintaining high environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards across its investment portfolios. The University’s investments totalled £334m as at 31st March 2020, a combined total of the University Investment Fund £237m and the Long Term Endowment Fund £97m.
The University is compliant with the UK Stewardship Code 2020. The Code sets high stewardship standards for asset owners and asset managers, and for service providers that support them. The Code comprises a set of ‘apply and explain’ Principles. Stewardship is defined as the responsible allocation, management and oversight of capital to create long-term value for clients and beneficiaries leading to sustainable benefits for the economy, the environment and society.
In December 2019, the University became signatories to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment which defines responsible investment as a strategy and practice to incorporate ESG factors in investment decisions and active ownership.
Since May 2019, the University has transitioned the University’s absolute return fund investments to ethical investment funds where available. The ethical investment funds mirror the risk and return objectives of the absolute return funds but heavily restrict or exclude investments in companies deriving revenue from the following areas: carbon and fossil fuels, defence and weapons, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, adult entertainment and high-interest lending.
The University has further agreed to proactively pursue ethical fund options, where suitable investment vehicles are available, and where investment returns would be consistent with the University’s charitable objectives.