New report on sustainable investing highlights York’s leadership 

Arial view of Kaneff

The strong performance of York University’s endowment fund – exceeding national sector and international sustainability benchmarks while generating positive returns – is highlighted in the 2022 Sustainable Investing Report

As an institution, York is committed to ensuring sustainability is embedded in all aspects of University operations. Sustainable investing is one of the many ways York acts in accordance with its core values and contributes to a more sustainable future.  

The new report on sustainable investing outlines York’s leadership in the space and how the York University Endowment Fund employs a decarbonization strategy that integrates environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in the overall financial management of its portfolio.  

“This report is a representation of our commitment to reporting and transparency, and a mechanism to hold ourselves accountable to continuously evolve our approach as the connection between ESG factors and risk and return becomes better understood,” reads a letter in the report written by Carol McCaulay, vice-president finance and administration, and Mary Traversy, Chair of the investment committee. “It also represents the most comprehensive compilation of data on sustainable investments in our endowment fund to date.”

The data contained in the report is extensive, and underscores York’s deep commitment to making strategic and intentional investments through its endowment fund.  

From 2016 to 2022, the equity fund reduced the overall carbon emissions of its investments by 82 per cent and reduced its reliance on CO2 emitting equities. This led to a 78 per cent reduction in carbon footprint since 2016 and an 80 per cent decrease in the fund’s weighted average carbon intensity (WACI). Other highlights for the endowment fund include $103 million committed to sustainability-focused infrastructure funds and surpassing the Paris Accord standards in 2022 to now sit 45 per cent below the benchmark. 

In addition to sustainable investing, the University is taking steps to accelerate its institutional sustainability commitments and be a leader in transparent emissions reporting. Most recently, York became the first Canadian institution to release its own comprehensive emissions data and ecological footprint assessment, compiling and publicizing more information than ever before to inform and guide its sustainability initiatives.  

For more information about sustainable investing at York, past reports are available on the University Secretariat website