Sustainable Investment Committee (S.I.C.)

Chloe Canning and Carter Hiles

Sustainable Investment Committee (S.I.C.)

The University Plan 2025 highlights the University of Saskatchewan as a global leader in the areas of creativity, connectivity, diversity and sustainability. However, according to the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), USask is a follower when compared to other Canadian universities. The vision statement “The University the World Needs” is currently misaligned with many of USask’s actions, as there are intentions to change, but not enough progress is being made.

STARS has evaluated USask to have an overall score of 54.90/100 and 0/7 within its Investment & Finance category. The economic side of sustainability is currently being overlooked at USask and it’s time for that to change. One of the recommendations STARS makes is the installment of a Sustainable Investment Committee (S.I.C.). This committee allows different stakeholders from many areas of the university community to come together and decide how to best align the nearly $800 million endowment fund. This committee will endorse previously overlooked opportunities related to renewables, ESG funds, etc., to become more prevalent in USask’s investment portfolio. 

The implementation of S.I.C. would also help Usask reach its goal of becoming a STARS gold member as implementing such a committee would add two points to the overall score. Furthermore, creating a new committee is a reasonable request as many major institutions across Canada have already implemented and embraced the notion of sustainable investments.

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  1. This is an important inItiative, thank-you!
    Our world has been slapped awake by the shock of COVID-19, showing that our disregard of sustainability at every level and in every society has failed to assure us of a safe future. So… the sooner this – and other – SICs ramp up, the better. 2025 is too long a wait to be ready to join in the discussion and the actions.

  2. Shots fired. I love the critical stance you guys are taking here. Those are some surprising numbers that should serve as a wakeup call to anybody listening. So how do we get the ball rolling? What are the next steps for this initiative?

    1. Hey Jay,
      When we first started this project we had a lot of ideas about how we could make people more aware of this issue and the initiatives we are trying to get off the ground. What we quickly realized was that there was no way we could do it all, but due to the nature of the class, that’s ok! We have a lot of resources available for a group that picks up this project next year like ideas on starting back up a Facebook page, creating other social media pages and more. This year we were able to make an official report that is up to date and can be taken to meetings and used in presentations. The next group’s job will be to apply pressure to the administration at the USask and demand this committee be put in place. As both Carter and I will be around next year, we would be more than happy to help the next group pick up where we left off!

  3. Great job on this Chloe and Carter,
    This is an important issue, so we can hope that the 4th time is a charm on this one. I wondered if you had a chance to shop this idea to administration of the University the World Needs (who are advertising a 96th place ranking in the THE sustainability rankings of late)? This seems like low hanging fruit as far as STARS points are concerned…

    I noticed that your comparators had alumni members on their committees, and I would be shocked if we didn’t have some wonderful expertise from our alumni community that could play a valuable role on this committee. Any reason you didn’t include an alumni representative in your proposed committee structure?

  4. This is really important. There are several universities that are taking this very seriously, which might provide examples you could draw from?
    In particular, I wonder what your thoughts are on divesting from fossil fuels. This would have the most significant impact on the university’s claim to caring about sustainability and being the University the World Needs.
    I urge you to send a copy of your report, along with a memo, to the President’s Advisory Circle on Sustainability, which has thus far not acknowledged to align the university’s finances with sustainability goals in any way.

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