Big Society Capital launches RI network for endowments

Cambridge, Edinburgh and Oxford University are all involved


Three universities have formed a responsible investment network, to align the investments in their endowments to have a stronger impact on the environment and society.

The new RINU network has been launched with support from the UK’s Big Society Capital and run by ShareAction. It is supported by the National Union of Students’ sustainability charity SOS-UK.

Initially, there will be three university members: Cambridge, Oxford (St Anne’s) and Edinburgh.

Together the three universities have some £5.4 billion of assets under management and will share ideas on areas such as stewardship, engagement and social impact themes. Edinburgh was the first university in Europe to sign the UN Principles for Responsible Investment back in 2013.

“Universities have the potential to use their endowments to create positive impact on society through impact investments. These investments can also help to better align their endowment with their long-term institutional objectives and values,” said Katie Fulford-Smith, engagement manager at Big Society Capital.

“We believe the greatest opportunities for universities are impact investments that don’t require profit maximisation or sacrifice financial returns. We’ve already invested alongside a number of UK universities and look forward to working with others, whether they’re expanding or just beginning to navigate the social impact investing market.”

Dave Gorman, social responsibility and sustainability director at Edinburgh University, said: “Responsible investment has become firmly integrated into not just our financial operations, but also our wider approach to social and civic responsibility. We look forward to sharing our expertise with other universities.”

Stephen Toope, Cambridge University’s vice chancellor added that joining the new network was “the next step forward” in his institution’s commitment to the global energy transition.

He said: “We look forward to working with members on supporting the decarbonisation of the modern economy.


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