Our College Strategy 2020-2025 describes the Endowment as an enabler to strengthen and diversify our revenues so we can deliver our mission. We have spoken to individuals, staff groups and student representatives about how the Endowment funds are invested to achieve that goal while remaining true to the College mission ‘to achieve enduring excellence in research and education in science, engineering, medicine and business for the benefit of society’.

On Friday 22 November, Council approved a recommendation from the Imperial College Student Union and the President’s Board to set up a Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Policy Working Group. The College SRI Policy was launched in March 2020 following approval by President's Board and Council.

SRI Policy

Statement of Intent

Imperial College London’s mission is to achieve enduring excellence in research and education in science, engineering, medicine and business for the benefit of society. This mission is pursued by means of research, education and innovation, and the College engages many partners in delivering its mission effectively.

The College’s status and position enables it to exert influence by means of engagement with wider society through key stakeholders. This pro-active approach is at the core of the College’s mission.

The Endowment and other investments are a key part of the College. They support the mission through the income they generate and act consistently with, and as part of, the College’s vision, mission and values.  The College and the Endowment recognise that the way it invests its money reflects the values of the College.

The College Endowment

The Endowment was officially established in August 2005 to generate income to support the College’s academic mission by stewarding investment assets. The Endowment’s investment in equities (circa 60% of asset value) is managed by external asset managers, those in property and private equity are managed directly by the College.

It has grown from £129m since inception to £480m (as of 31st December 2019), but still remains significantly smaller than those of peer institutions in the Global Top 10.

The Endowment is overseen by the Endowment Board with delegated authority from the College’s Council to which it reports annually. The Board has majority representation from non-executive members who have market experience and expertise consistent with the Endowment’s investments.

Policy

The College’s policy is to ensure that any investment decisions take into account the same social, environmental and governance concerns as the College, including pursuing an active approach to engagement with its investments in all asset classes.

Implementation

The College’s position as a world-leading institution of higher learning will be leveraged to affect positive change.

All investments within the Endowment will align with major international accords and relevant regulation and legislation. Therefore, the College and its fund managers will be signatories to the UN Principles of Responsible Investment.

Active ownership and engagement will be at the heart of the Endowment Board’s approach. Where the Endowment does not have the scale to be effective in its engagement based on the size of its investments alone, it will look to collaborate or combine resources with like-minded investors.

An Endowment Board report on the effectiveness of this approach will be given regularly to Council and President’s Board. This will include the progress the College and other investors are making in changing the behaviour, where change is needed, of companies in which it has invested. This should include a statement, including supporting evidence, on whether there is a clear prospect of future influence.

Should a corporation be deemed unresponsive to engagement by the Endowment and its asset managers, and that corporation is a strategic partner for the College, or a funder of research, or employer of graduates, then the College will use these relationships to influence and engage the corporation.

If the College assesses that a company’s current activities and future plans are not aligned with this policy and it has exhausted all possibilities for influence, it will instruct the Endowment Board to divest.

Review Mechanism

Council has mandated the Endowment Board to oversee its investment portfolio according to this policy.

Council has mandated President’s Board to provide it with advice on this policy and its delivery.

The College will ensure that:

  1. The policy and practices relating to its investment portfolio are reviewed regularly
  2. There is a forum for considering representations to change the Policy and practices relating to it on ESG grounds
  3. Its investment managers are engaging in responsible investment, and report regularly to monitor the investment portfolio in the context of this Policy.

Review Programme

Date

 

April

President’s Board Review of SRI Policy (for 2020, as the Policy has just been announced, this will consider any immediate feedback from the College community) – due to COVID-19, the April 2020 review was delayed to 6 July.

November

Council consider report from Endowment Board on the investment portfolio (President’s Board also receive report)

The SRI Policy Working Group met to review initial responses from the College community. Having reviewed these comments, the SRI Working Group have provided clarification on the language of the policy around fossil fuels. Details on this update can be found below.

An SRI Engagement Group has been established to develop and implement methods to monitor and assess progress the College is making in influencing fossil fuel companies through its research and collaborations, education programmes and influence as a world-leading university. The SRI Engagement Group will convene internal and external representation in order to draw on the expertise of the College community and ensure that the College’s assessment plan is benchmarked against best practices across the sector. Further details of the SRI Engagement Group can be found below.

Feedback on the SRI Policy can be sent to sri.policy@imperial.ac.uk

Restrictions

Tobacco

The College, including the Endowment will not invest (directly or indirectly) in companies that manufacture tobacco.

Illegal Munitions Manufacture

The College, including the Endowment will not invest (directly or indirectly) in companies which manufacture arms that are illegal under Arms Control Treaties to which the UK is a signatory.

Fossil Fuels

The College will continue to invest in fossil fuels companies that demonstrate they are actively moving towards meeting Paris Agreement targets.

The College will influence the behaviour of these companies by the following means:

  • Our educational programmes
  • Our research and collaborations
  • Our influence as active shareholders
  • Our influence as a world-leading university

The Endowment Board will report on the progress the College and other investors are making in changing company behaviour, by measuring progress against the Paris Agreement targets.

The College believes that, on the current evidence, thermal coal and tar sand extraction do not play a part in achieving the Paris Agreement targets and will therefore instruct the Endowment Board to divest from direct and indirect investments in companies engaged in these activities that are unable to make progress towards Paris Agreement targets.*

* Footnote: clarification on the language regarding divestment from fossil fuel companies was made in July 2020 following feedback from the College community. This reflects existing language used in the full SRI Policy relating to fossil fuels below.

Please see further information: Socially Responsible Investment Policy - Investing in Fossil Fuels.

SRI Policy Working Group

Information

Our College Strategy 2020-2025 describes the Endowment as an enabler to strengthen and diversify our revenues so we can deliver our mission. We have spoken to individuals, staff groups and student representatives about how the Endowment funds are invested to achieve that goal while remaining true to the College mission ‘to achieve enduring excellence in research and education in science, engineering, medicine and business for the benefit of society’.

On Friday 22 November 2019, Council approved a recommendation from the Imperial College Student Union and the President’s Board to set up a SRI Policy Working Group. It was tasked with preparing a College SRI Policy for approval at the 14 February 2020 meeting of Council.

The SRI Policy Working Group have drawn on the expertise and views of the College community, key stakeholders, Endowment Board members and Council, as well as external experts in responsible investment. They have taken written evidence, invited specific people to give oral evidence and had informal discussions as appropriate.

The SRI Policy prepared by the SRI Working Group was discussed and approved at Council on Friday 14 February 2020. Council have now amended the Terms of Reference for the Endowment Board to instruct them to follow the College SRI Policy. The Endowment Board will report back to Council annually on its implementation of the SRI Policy.

Membership

 Members' details
Professor Ian Walmsley

Professor Ian Walmsley (Chair)

Professor Ian Walmsley is Provost and Chair in Experimental Physics at Imperial College London.

Professor Terry Tetley

Professor Terry Tetley

Professor Terry Tetley is the elected Staff Representative on Council and Professor of Lung Cell Biology.

Abhijay Sood

Abhijay Sood

Abhijay Sood is the elected President of Imperial College Union and is the Student Representative on Council.

 Muir Sanderson

Muir Sanderson

Muir Sanderson is Chief Financial Officer at Imperial College London.

Professor Francisco Veloso

Professor Francisco Veloso

Professor Francisco Veloso is Dean of the Imperial College London Business School.

Key dates

Friday 22 November 2019
Council approves the establishment of a SRI Policy Working Group

Thursday 28 November 2019
SRI Policy Working Group announced

Tuesday 3 December 2019 
First meeting of the SRI Policy Working Group

SRI Policy Working Group Meeting Summary - 3 December 2019

Tuesday 10 December 2019 
Discussion of Socially Responsible Investment at President’s Board

Monday 6 January 2020 
Meeting with:

  • Annabel Rudebeck, Head of Non-US Credit at Western Asset Management and Member of the Endowment Board

Tuesday 7 January  2020
Second meeting of the SRI Policy Working Group

Monday 13 January 2020
Discussion of Socially Responsible Investment Policy at President’s Board

Monday 13 January 2020
Meeting with:

  • Tom Pike, Vice-President of Imperial UCU
  • Ann Muggeridge, Chair in Petroleum Engineering

Wednesday 15 January 2020
Meeting with:

  • Bruce Duguid, Head of Stewardship at Hermes EOS
  • Marisol Hernandez, Head of Asset Owners at UN Principles of Responsible Investment

Thursday 16 January  2020
Meeting with:

  • Patrick Bolton, Professor of Finance and Economics
  • Marcin Kacperczyk, Professor of Finance
  • Alex Lipp, Divest Imperial

Friday 17 January  2020
Meeting with:

  • Catherine Howarth, CEO of ShareAction
  • Malia Schaerer, Investment Advisor, Marc Posso, Investment Advisor, and Norbert Rucker, Head of Economics and Next Generation Research, at Julius Baer
  • Richard Maitland, Partner and Head of Charities, David Pitt-Watson, Advisor, and Ben McEwan, Climate Active Analyst, at Sarasin & Partners

Wednesday 22 January 2020
Third meeting of the SRI Policy Working Group

Friday 31 January 2020
Deadline for written submissions to be received

Tuesday 4 February 2020
Meeting with:

  • Mary Ryan, Vice-Dean (Research), Faculty of Engineering

Wednesday 5 February 2020
Meeting with:

  • Wendy Rees, Head of UK Stakeholder Relations and Reputation Management, and Andreas Borck, Investor Relations, at Shell

Thursday 6 February 2020
Meeting with:

  • Alyssa Gilbert, Head of Policy and Translation, and Neil Jennings, Partnership Development Manager, at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change

Friday 14 February 2020
Council approved the Socially Responsible Investment Policy

Monday 2 March 2020
The Socially Responsible Investment Policy was published

Submissions

The SRI Policy Working Group have drawn on the expertise and views of the College community, key stakeholders, Endowment Board members and Council, as well as external experts in responsible investment.

Evidence given in person

Name

Job Title

Department/Organisation 

Annabel Rudebeck

Head of Non-US Credit

Member of the Endowment Board

Western Asset Management

Imperial College London

Tom Pike

Vice-President

Imperial UCU

Ann Muggeridge

Chair in Petroleum Engineering

Earth Science & Engineering

Bruce Duguid

Head of Stewardship

Hermes EOS

Marisol Hernandez

Head of Asset Owners

UN Principles of Responsible Investment

Patrick Bolton

Marcin Kacperczyk

Professor of Finance and Economics

Professor of Finance

Imperial College Business School

Alex Lipp

Divest Imperial representative

Imperial College London

Catherine Howarth

CEO

ShareAction

Malia Schaerer

Marc Posso

Norbert Rucker

Investment Advisor

Investment Advisor

Head of Economics and Next Generation Research

Julius Baer

Richard Maitland

David Pitt-Watson

Ben McEwan

Partner and Head of Charities

Advisor

Climate Active Analyst

Sarasin & Partners

Mary Ryan

Vice-Dean (Research)

Faculty of Engineering

Wendy Rees

 

Andreas Borck

Head of UK Stakeholder Relations and Reputation Management

Investor Relations

Shell

Alyssa Gilbert

Neil Jennings

Head of Policy and Translation

Partnership Development Manager

Grantham Institute for Climate Change

 

Submissions via email

Name

Job Title

Department/Organisation 

Edwin Chilvers

Head of NHLI

NHLI

David Dye

Professor of Metallurgy

Materials

Ann Muggeridge

Chair in Petroleum Engineering

Earth Science & Engineering

Christine Hemmingway

Research Fellow

Business School

Jochen Brandt

Research Associate

Chemistry

Kenneth Bignell

Honorary Lecturer

Physics

Neil Grant

Research Postgraduate

Chemical Engineering

Divest Imperial

 

Imperial College London

Grantham Institute

 

Imperial College London

Social Impact & Responsible Business Club

 

Imperial College London

UCU Imperial

 

Imperial College London

Martin Blunt

Chair in Petroleum Engineering

Earth Science & Engineering

Ali Qaseminejad Raeini

Research Fellow in Pore-Scale Physics

Earth Science & Engineering

Qingyang Lin

Research Associate

Earth Science & Engineering

Peter King

Chair in Petroleum Engineering

Earth Science & Engineering

Christopher Kaye

Junior Fee Invoicing Assistant

Finance Division

Dave Clements

Reader in Astrophysics

Physics

Kim Woodruff

Senior Project Manager

School of Public Health

Mark Rehkamper

Professor of Isotope Geochemistry

Earth Science & Engineering

Robert Bradley

Research Associate

Life Sciences

Geva Greenfield

Research Fellow in Public Health

School of Public Health

Amelia Womack

Deputy Leader, Green Party

Alumni

Katherine Davis

Research Postgraduate

School of Public Health

Molly Fyfe

Senior Teaching Fellow in Educational Research

School of Public Health

Arminder Deol

Research Postgraduate

School of Public Health

Marine Secchi

Undergraduate

Department of Infectious Disease

Seb Beloe

Author

 

Robert Zimmerman

Chair in Rock Mechanics

Earth Science & Engineering

Julia Cotton

College Safety Auditor

Health and Safety Services

Ann Yashnikova

Undergraduate

Faculty of Medicine

Kate Mitchell

Research Fellow

School of Public Health

Mahjabin Chowdhury

Undergraduate

Faculty of Medicine

Gary Hampson

Professor of Sedimentary Geology

Earth Science & Engineering

Rehana Byrne

Undergraduate

Faculty of Medicine

Sajjad Foroughi

Research Associate

Earth Science & Engineering

Adriel Simorangkir

Taught Postgraduate

Earth Science & Engineering

Yihuai Zhang

Research Associate Reservoir Condition Multi-Phase Fluid Exp

Earth Science & Engineering

Extinction Rebellion Imperial College

 

 

Asmaa Elsouda

Undergraduate

Bioengineering

Robert Gardner

Research Postgraduate

Physics

Eric Schoenrock

Research Postgraduate

Physics

Chris Wells

Research Postgraduate

Physics

Geoffrey Maitland

Professor of Energy Engineering

Chemical Engineering

Niall Mac Dowell

Reader in Energy Systems

Centre for Environmental Policy

  

SRI Engagement Group

Information

An SRI Engagement Group has been established to develop and implement methods to monitor and assess progress the College is making in influencing fossil fuel companies through its research and collaborations, education programmes and influence as a world-leading university. The SRI Engagement Group will convene internal and external representation to draw on the expertise of the College community and ensure that the College’s assessment plan is benchmarked against best practice across the sector.

The Engagement Group will make its recommendations to the SRI Working Group and to President’s Board.

Membership

Professor Geoffrey Maitland – Professor of Energy Engineering (Chair)

Professor Anna Korre – Co-Director, Energy Futures Lab

Professor Tim Green – Co-Director, Energy Futures Lab

Professor Frank Kelly - Humphrey Battcock Chair of Environment and Health

Professor Nick Jennings – Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise)

Professor Ralf Toumi – Co-Director, Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment

Abhijay Sood – Imperial College Union President

Alyssa Gilbert – Director of Policy and Translation, Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment

Professor Patrick Bolton – Professor of Finance and Economics, Business School

Bridget McNulty - Management Trainee, Office of the President/Provost (Secretary)

Terms of Reference

  1. To monitor and assess progress the College is making in influencing fossil fuel companies through its research and collaborations, education programmes and influence as a world-leading university.
  2. To consult with relevant internal stakeholders to review the College’s current approach to engaging with fossil fuel companies.
  3. To consider guidance from external advisors and best practice across the sector to inform how the College effectively delivers impact with its engagement.
  4. To consult with external advisors to assess fossil fuel companies’ progress towards meeting the Paris Agreement Targets.
  5. To present the proposed action plan for assessing engagement to the SRI Working Group.

Key dates

The Engagement Group members will be appointed by September 2020. An initial draft assessment plan will be presented to the SRI Working Group. Recommendations for assessing engagement will be presented to President’s Board by April 2021.