Responsible Investing

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Factors

Queen’s defines responsible investing as investment approaches that take ESG factors into consideration. Queen's believes that ESG factors can be material to shareholder value across industries and through time.
Disclosure of holdings


Governance Leadership and Oversight

In consultation with the University Secretariat, Investment Services ensures that any responsible investing recommendations adopted by the Board of Trustees are implemented. 

In 2019, the Board of Trustees struck the Climate Change Action Task Force (CCATF) to develop strategic recommendations for managing Queen's investments in alignment with sustainable development goals. 
Learn about CCATF's Recommendations

Investing to Address Climate Change: A Charter for Canadian Universities

"... as stewards of long-term investments, we have a responsibility to manage our capital in ways that accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy and protect our stakeholders from the growing risks associated with climate change."

Our Commitment

Leadership in Transparency

As a demonstration of our ESG leadership and our commitment to transparency, Queen's is taking the rare step of publicly sharing (with permission) our external investment managers’ thorough and thoughtful responses to our annual ESG questionnaire. In addition, we continue to disclose detailed reports of the University’s holdings.

Hear from our External Investment Managers

Disclosure of holdings

Queen's is committed to transparency in our investing activities. As such, we voluntarily disclose detailed holdings information for the Queen's Endowment and Pooled Investment Fund (PIF). Reports are as at December 31, 2020.

Queen's Endowment

Endowment Holdings

Pooled Investment Fund

Investment Fund Holdings

Guiding Principles

The significant majority of Queen’s external investment managers - representing approximately 90% of all investment assets - are signatories to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI). As signatories, they commit to assessing ESG factors in the context of investment decisions as represented by the six principles of the UNPRI.

Queen’s Responsible Investing Policy was informally based on the UNPRI, which is the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment.

Learn more: UNPRI - Principles for Responsible Investment

In recent years, Queen’s has made a significant commitment to enhancing and formalizing its approach to Responsible Investing relating to its endowment and operational investment assets, which together comprise $2.4 billion as of May 31, 2021.

Queen’s Responsible Investing Policy, approved by the Board of Trustees in May 2017, formally recognizes that awareness and the effective management of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) related risks and opportunities may improve long-term performance.

Decisions pertaining to responsible investing must be guided by the fiduciary responsibilities of the Board of Trustees to ensure the prudent investment of the university’s assets. As part of these fiduciary responsibilities, Queen’s requires all external investment managers to take due regard of ESG issues in making investment decisions.

Queen’s also believes that corporate engagement activities (such as letters to management and voting of proxies) can be effective when dealing with ESG issues. As such, each external investment manager is asked to engage where appropriate and to regularly provide extensive reporting on their ESG activities to support the University's ongoing due diligence.

The University, acting through its Board of Trustees, has overall fiduciary responsibility for all investments.

The Board of Trustees has established an Investment Committee to help ensure that these responsibilities are met.

To achieve the funds’ objectives and diversify risk, the committee employs a variety of external investment managers with areas of specialization across a range of strategies, with a careful emphasis on risk management, as well as a long-term focus.

The Department of Investment Services at Queen’s manages the day-to-day investment activities of the funds in accordance with policies approved by the Board of Trustees. This includes working closely with the Investment Committee on:

  • investment matters and implementing committee directives
  • conducting ongoing due diligence on external investment managers
  • researching investment opportunities
  • measuring performance against objectives
  • recommending changes to external fund manager relationships and investment policy.

Members of the University community who wish to make representations on Responsible Investing may do so, as outlined in Procedure #2 - Special Requests.

A documented submission must be put forward that clearly presents the case for the proposed action(s) pertaining to the University’s investments, which must be consistent with the University’s Fiduciary Responsibilities.

The submission must be accompanied by at least 200 individual signatures, with a minimum of 20 signatures from at least three of five constituencies (i.e. faculty, students, staff, alumni, and retirees).