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University publishes endowment investments climate report

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The University of Manchester has published a report into the climate impact of its endowment investments which reveals that, by 31 July 2022, the carbon intensity of its endowment equity investment portfolio has been reduced by 55% from 2019.

The University has therefore hit its target of reducing the weighted average carbon intensity (WACI) by 50% by 2027 ahead of time. The University also ended investment in fossil fuel companies in 2021, as part of its Policy for Responsible Investment.

Carbon intensity is a measure of carbon efficiency, in which the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions by a company are divided by the level of its activity (as measured in value of sales). The University aims to reach net zero carbon in its investments by 2038 at the latest.

The Endowment Investment Portfolio Climate Change report for the year ended 31 July 2022 has been prepared with support from Mercer, the University’s investment adviser.

As well as updating on progress, the report explains how the University considers climate-related risks in relation to its endowment investment portfolio, how it adopts governance processes and investment strategies, and assesses relevant metrics and targets in order to manage these risks.

Asset owners like the University sit at the top of the investment chain and, therefore, have an important role to play in influencing the organisations through which they invest (such as asset managers) and companies in which they ultimately invest to provide better climate-related financial disclosures.

Professor Nalin Thakkar, Vice-President for Social Responsibility, said: “I’m really pleased with the progress we have made on this, as it brings us much closer to our ultimate ambition of net zero-carbon in our investments. Publishing this report is part of demonstrating our ambition in a transparent way.

“This work, and our efforts to decarbonise our campus operations, helps us make a contribution to tackling the climate crisis, alongside our important teaching, research and social responsibility activity.”

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