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About the Conversations
Discussions focused on the social and environmental dimensions of sustainability have resulted in a recognition of the importance of corporate social responsibility and the role of public and private financial investments in shaping socially responsible corporate behavior.  In response, concerned organizations and individuals have begun to utilize new criteria for their investment choices, and investment services have begun to offer new, socially responsible investment tools.  Unlike many other universities in the United States, UNCG has not yet undertaken a robust review of its investment practices through the sustainability lens.  In the conversations, UNCG students, faculty, staff and administrators will be brought together with a wide group of interested attendees including academic experts, business practitioners, local social and business leaders, and interested members of the Triad community with the emphasis on sharing and gaining knowledge about socially responsible investing.  The conversations are intended to model data-informed discussion, multi-dimensional consideration, long- as well as short-term perspectives, and civil discourse.  A desired outcome of the conversations is to build foundational knowledge around this complex topic that sets the stage for the UNCG community – individuals and the institution – to consider our own investment practices.

FALL 2017

Conversation #1: What is Sustainable and Socially Responsible Investing and Why Is It Important?
Date:  9/28, 3:30pm – 5:00pmInvestingPDF

Location: UNCG Faculty Center; 412 College Ave

Hosts:   Environmental & Sustainability Studies and Geography

  • The social and natural science data that is driving the movement toward socially responsible investment practices.
  • What the outcomes of current economic development patterns look like domestically and globally.

Speakers:

Jill Hopke and Luis Hestres, co-authors of the Oxford Research Encyclopedia paper Fossil Fuel Divestment and Climate Change Communication”

Jill Hopke, Assistant Professor, DePaul University

Jill Hopke works for DePaul University’s College of Communication as an assistant professor of Journalism. Her research is focused on how digital communication has affected the environmental movement by allowing activists to easily spread a message of sustainability.


Luis Hestres, Assistant Professor, University of Texas at San Antonio

Luis Hestres works for the University of Texas at San Antonio as an assistant professor in the Department of Communication. His research is oriented on the topic of how social media expedites social change through increased ease of communication.

 

 

Conversation #2: The Business of Investing Responsibly

Date:     November 16 at 8:30 a.m.

Location: UNCG Faculty Center; 412 College Ave

Host:     Bryan School of Business & Economics

  • What are current trends in Socially Responsible Investing? Who are the players? What are future job prospects?
  • Who are your partners in choosing how you invest and how are they equipped to match your values with good value?
  • What is the typical performance of socially responsible investment practices?
  • How do Triad leaders approach Socially Responsible Investing?

Speakers:

Ebony Perkins
Investment Associate
Self Help Credit Union

Self Help Credit Union’s mission is creating and protecting ownership and economic opportunity for all. Self Help does this by providing responsible financial services, lending to small businesses and nonprofits, developing real estate and promoting fair financial practices. While the work benefits communities of all kinds, the focus is on those who may be underserved by conventional lenders, including people of color, women, rural residents and low-wealth families and communities.

Christopher Demetropoulos
Portfolio Associate
Trillium Asset Management

Trillium Asset Management is an employee-owned investment management firm with over $2 billion in assets under management*. Trillium integrates Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors into the investment process as a way to identify the companies best positioned to deliver strong long-term performance.

Chas Mansfield, CFA 

Chief Investment Officer 

Compass Financial Partners 

A nationally recognized firm, Compass Financial Partners combines a talented, experienced team; scale and leverage with our partners; and unmatched passion for retirement plan consulting. From recordkeeper search and selection assistance and vendor fee benchmarking; to investment due diligence and employee communications, Compass Financial Partners’ process-driven suite of fiduciary services provides the resources necessary to help employers work towards successful retirement plan programs.

 

SPRING 2018

Conversation #3: Learning from Other Schools & Strategies
Date: TBA

Host:     Sustainability Office

Speakers: TBA

  • What are other institutions of higher education, both public and private, in-state and beyond, undertaking related to socially responsible investment?
  • What institutional mechanisms are available for institutional and individual actions?

 

Conversation #4: Council Consideration of What Has Been Learned
Date: TBA

Host:     Sustainability Council

Speakers: TBA

  • Presentation of main lessons from three previous conversations.
  • Discussion of possible UNCG directions.
  • Outline of possible individual actions.

Conversations Project Members

A diverse and important group of partners at UNCG are engaged in this project.  The Conversation is being supported by numerous UNCG organizations: the Sustainability Council, the Green Fund, the Office of Sustainability, the Environmental & Sustainability Studies Program, the Department of Geography, the Bryan School of Business & Economics, and the Department of Economics.  Key individuals include:

  • Stephen Holland, Sustainability Faculty Fellow and Department of Economics
  • Sarah Rahbek, Graduate Student Assistant, Department of Economics
  • Aaron Allen, Program Director, Environmental & Sustainability Studies Program
  • Corey Johnson, Associate Professor and Head, Department of Geography
  • Joseph Erba, Assistant Dean of External Affairs, Bryan School of Business & Economics
  • Bramley Crisco, Business Relations Specialist, Bryan School of Business & Economics
  • Jorge Quintal, Associate Vice Chancellor Facilities, Chief Sustainability Officer
  • Shanna Eller, Sustainability Coordinator for Operations
  • Kelly Burke, Vice Provost & Dean of Graduate School
  • Jim Settle, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
  • Julie Vorhees, Title III Grant Project Director 
  • Mikaela Portugal, SGA Vice President
  • Kayla Forrest, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of English  
  • The twenty plus members of the UNCG Sustainability Council

Student and University Benefits
These conversations epitomize both the essential nature of informed and considered deliberation that is central to civil society and the educational role that a university can play in the broader community.

Background Resources and Essential Readings
Readings on Socially Responsible Investing

  • Martin, James & Samels, James:The Sustainable University: Green Goads and New Challenges for Higher Education Leaders 
  • Ritchie, Justin: What Divesting May Yield: Revisiting the Grasshopper and the Ant in the context of University Endowments
  • Logue, Ann. Socially Responsible Investing For Dummies. Wiley.com. p. 196.
  • Reuters Staff: Sustainable Investing A Fiduciary Duty for Fund Managers, Says UN-Backed Study  READ

 

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