Socially Responsible Investing at TIAA-CREFDocument Transcript
inveSting at tiaa-cReF
Integrated strategIes for InfluencIng
SeeKing a “DoUble bottoM line”
oF coMpetitive RetURnS
anD Social beneFitS
TIAA-CREF has a long-standing commitment to socially responsible
investing (SRI) that is consistent with our nonprofit heritage and
unwavering mission to serve those who serve the greater good.
Our SRI program combines three distinct yet complementary
strategies: socially screened investment options that enable investors
to align their portfolios with their values; shareholder advocacy
through the global promotion of sound corporate governance practices;
and community investing to help meet specific local needs. We believe
this integrated approach to SRI can produce positive investment
results over the long term, helping us pursue a “double bottom line”
of both competitive returns and social benefits.
This update provides an overview of TIAA-CREF’s SRI strategies,
along with highlights of our SRI accomplishments and milestones
over the past year. As demand for socially responsible investing grows,
expanding our SRI capabilities represents one way we help meet our
participants’ evolving financial needs.
socIallY responsIBle InvestIng at tIaa-cref
oUR SRi pRogRaM coMpRiSeS tHRee Key StRategieS:
TIAA-CREF offers comprehensively screened investment portfolios, which seek to
provide competitive return potential aligned with investors’ values by giving special
consideration to companies’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) records.
Our socially screened investment products include the CREF Social Choice Account,
a variable annuity account, and the TIAA-CREF Social Choice Equity Fund,
a mutual fund.
SHaReHolDeR aDvocacy anD coRpoRate engageMent
TIAA-CREF exercises its shareholder rights by seeking to influence the ESG policies
of the companies in which we invest. We employ this strategy across TIAA-CREF’s
entire portfolio, not just in our socially screened offerings.
coMMUnity anD pRoactive Social inveSting
TIAA-CREF seeks to generate competitive returns for our participants by
specializing in focused, high social-impact investment programs across a wide
variety of assets. Our combined community investing programs represented more
than $696 million in commitments and investments as of April 30, 2008, of which
$572 million is held in the Corporate Social Real Estate portfolio. These programs
are currently funded through the TIAA General Account1 and through targeted
investments in the fixed-income portion of the CREF Social Choice Account.
the tIaa general account is not an insurance or investment offering to the public.
coMpetitive RetURn potential aligneD witH inveStoRS’ valUeS
Reflecting strong investor demand, socially screened assets under management at
TIAA-CREF grew to $9.7 billion in 2007, from about $1.6 billion in 1996. Our first
socially screened portfolio, the CREF Social Choice Account, was launched in 1990
with participant input and reached $8.7 billion in assets as of March 31, 2008. It is
the largest comprehensively screened investment vehicle for individual investors
in the United States. 2
In addition to the CREF Social Choice Account, which includes both equity and
fixed-income segments, we offer socially screened equity-only portfolios through
mutual funds and other investments available to individuals and institutions.
Financial return is a top priority for our participants,3 and through our social
screening process, we are able to offer them the opportunity to align their
social values with competitive long-term investment returns. For performance
information about the CREF Social Choice Account and other TIAA-CREF
investments, visit www.tiaa-cref.org/performance.
gRowtH in tiaa-cReF Socially ScReeneD aSSetS (1996 – 2007)
1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Socially Screened Assets (in $ millions) Socially Screened Assets (as a % of assets under management)
data as of december 31, 2007. socially screened assets include cref social choice account,
tIaa-cref social choice equity fund and tIaa-cref life social choice equity fund.
source: social Investment forum, 2007 Report on Socially Responsible Investing Trends in the
United States. Based on assets under management among mutual funds and variable annuities
that screen across multiple environmental, social and governance criteria (versus those that
apply only product-specific screens such as alcohol and tobacco; among all mutual funds and
variable annuity accounts categorized as quot;socially and environmentally screened,quot; cref social
choice was the third largest).
Based on participant surveys and internal data.
2 socIallY responsIBle InvestIng at tIaa-cref
oUR Social ScReening pRoceSS
In choosing stocks and corporate bonds for our socially screened portfolios, we use screening criteria implemented by
Kld research & analytics, Inc. (Kld), an independent provider of social research specializing in environmental, social
and governmental (esg) assessments. We consider those companies among Kld’s Broad Market social Index (BMsI)
and global sustainability Index (gsI) ex-us that meet or exceed the screening criteria for our social choice products.
this screening process favors corporations that are strong stewards of the environment; serve local communities
and society overall; commit to high labor standards for their own employees and those in their supply chains;
produce high-quality and safe products; and manage their companies in an exemplary and ethical manner.
although the Kld BMsI and gsI ex-us are essential to identifying companies that are potentially eligible for
our screened portfolios, tIaa-cref does not attempt to replicate these indexes. Instead, we seek to optimize
a broad-market “mainstream” index, such as the russell 3000 ® Index, using the Kld-implemented criteria and
our proprietary statistical techniques.
cReF Social cHoice accoUnt goeS global in 2008
In February 2008, TIAA-CREF added an international stock component to the
CREF Social Choice Account, which previously invested only in domestic securities.
The account maintains its overall balance of 60% equity and 40% fixed income,
but the equity portion is now allocated among domestic stocks (approximately 47% of
the total portfolio) and foreign developed-market stocks (about 13%). In tandem with
this change, the MSCI EAFE® + Canada Index, which measures stock performance
in 22 developed markets outside the United States, has been added to the account’s
Including international companies that meet the account’s social screens is an
important step in the evolution of the account, helping to make it a more complete
investment choice for socially conscious investors. From a long-term investment
perspective, international diversification offers the potential to achieve an attractive
balance of risk and return over time, in keeping with TIAA-CREF’s investment
philosophy of seeking to deliver consistent growth for investors, year after year.4
cReF Social cHoice accoUnt aDDS pRoactive Social inveStMentS
In July 2007, TIAA-CREF announced a 2% target allocation to proactive social
investments within the fixed-income portion of the CREF Social Choice Account.
Under this target allocation, the account seeks opportunities to invest in publicly
traded fixed-income securities related to affordable housing, alternative energy
and economic development programs in the United States and abroad.
Investments in foreign securities are subject to special risks, including currency fluctuation
and political and economic instability. these investment risks may be magnified in emerging
markets. diversification cannot eliminate the risk of fluctuating prices, uncertain returns and
SHaReHolDeR aDvocacy anD
pRoMoting SoUnD goveRnance anD ReSponSible
TIAA-CREF views shareholder advocacy and corporate governance
as essential parts of our fiduciary duty. Our Corporate Governance
Department, along with the trustees of TIAA and CREF, works
to advance high standards of corporate governance, strengthen
shareholder rights and influence the ESG policies of the companies
in which we invest.
TIAA-CREF’s Policy Statement on Corporate Governance details our
proxy voting guidelines and provides our perspective on best practices
in corporate governance, including social and environmental issues.
A copy of the statement is available at http://www.tiaa-cref.org//about/
coRpoRate engageMent: pRoMoting cHange tHRoUgH
TIAA-CREF engages with companies on issues that may pose
economic risks or impact long-term shareholder value. Topics of
engagement include shareholder rights, governance practices,
and social and environmental issues.
Where necessary, we file shareholder resolutions or employ other
methods to promote constructive dialogue. In our view, engaging
with companies in this way is more effective in changing corporate
behavior than public confrontation or divestment of our shares.
Over the past year, we met with dozens of companies to address such
areas of concern as executive compensation, board accountability,
transparency, human rights, global climate change and other issues.
4 socIallY responsIBle InvestIng at tIaa-cref
aDvocating FoR cHange in SUDan
The humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan
has become a central focus for many socially conscious
investors. A key issue of discussion has been how the
investment community should respond to the crisis.
Many TIAA-CREF funds and variable annuity
accounts, including our socially screened portfolios,
have no exposure to Sudan. Among our other
portfolios, the shares that TIAA-CREF owns in
multinational companies that have appeared on lists
of firms doing business in Sudan make up less than
two percent of the combined $420 billion in assets
TIAA-CREF manages (as of 3/31/08).
For these shares, our strategy is to “own and change”
by engaging privately with portfolio companies when
we perceive shortcomings in their approach to social
issues. Engagement preserves our voice among a
company’s ownership and provides the opportunity
to speak out.
Over the past year and a half, TIAA-CREF has
engaged with 22 portfolio companies identified as
having operations in Sudan. To date, nine companies —
40 percent of those on our list—have either discontinued
or committed to discontinue their operations in Sudan
or have undertaken humanitarian steps. We have
framed our engagement with those companies in
economic terms and have discussed with them the
financial implications of doing business in Sudan with
respect to risk, reputation, and shareholder value.
A complete discussion of TIAA-CREF’s policy on
investment in companies with ties to Sudan is available
on our website at http://www.tiaa-cref.org/about/press/
pRoxy voting: a RigHt anD a ReSponSibility
As an equity investor in publicly traded companies, we exercise our rights as
shareholders by voting on proxy proposals brought before portfolio companies.
We make independent voting decisions on a case-by-case basis, in keeping with
policies approved by the TIAA and CREF Committees on Corporate Governance
and Social Responsibility.
In addition, we exceed regulatory requirements and standard industry practice
for disclosing proxy voting records. We post our proxy votes on the TIAA-CREF
website on an ongoing basis throughout the year—typically within a few weeks
after each shareholder meeting in which we vote—not just once per year in a
summary filing. To view TIAA-CREF’s proxy voting records, visit http://www.
pRoxy voting caSe StUDy: exxonMobil
While our screening process excludes ExxonMobil from the CREF Social Choice
Account and other screened investment portfolios, TIAA-CREF owns shares of the
company in other, non-screened portfolios. At ExxonMobil’s 2008 annual meeting,
TIAA-CREF supported three shareholder proposals that addressed the company’s
environmental performance and one that focused on including more independent
leadership of the board. These four proposals sought to persuade ExxonMobil to:
Adopt greenhouse gas emissions goals for its products and operations
nn Require an independent board chairman
nn Report on climate change leadership
nn Report on alternative energy technology development
Our votes were in keeping with our proxy voting policies and reflected our concern that
ExxonMobil’s management may not be conducting the strategic analysis necessary to
address the short- and long-term impacts of the company’s operations and products
on local and global environments.
6 socIallY responsIBle InvestIng at tIaa-cref
tiaa-cReF RecognizeD FoR leaDeRSHip on pRoxy voting
An independent report5 published in February 2008 lauded TIAA-CREF’s proxy
voting guidelines in general and voting record on product toxicity issues in particular.
The report recommended that the mutual fund industry adopt proxy voting guidelines
similar to TIAA-CREF’s and also urged fund companies to “follow TIAA-CREF’s
lead and survey their participants’ opinions on responsible investing, including
published by the Investor environmental health network (Iehn) and the rose foundation for
communities and the environment. the full report is available at http://iehn.org/publications.
HigHligHtS: Key pRoxy iSSUeS anD Recent voting tRenDS
In 2007, TIAA-CREF introduced and/or voted for shareholder resolutions related to
these and other key environmental, social and governance issues. In total, we voted
on more than 700 resolutions at over 7,000 shareholder meetings.
HUMan RigHtS Began supporting shareholder resolutions requesting a human rights policy,
following the revision of tIaa-cref's policy statement on corporate governance
in 2006. In 2007, we supported 50% of resolutions calling for a human rights
code of conduct; we supported all resolutions if the company had no such policy
and voted on a case-by-case basis otherwise.
cliMate cHange voted for 100% of proposals requesting that companies publish a climate
SUStainability voted for 95% of proposals requesting companies to file a sustainability
anD coMMUnity report and for 85% of proposals requesting that companies report on the
iMpact community impact of their operations or potential operations.
execUtive filed shareholder resolutions seeking a non-binding advisory vote on executive
coMpenSation compensation with a group of targeted portfolio companies.
SUbpRiMe Withheld votes from audit or risk committee directors at a number of companies
cReDit because of their failure to effectively oversee risk management of investments
cRiSiS in subprime mortgages.
eqUal voted for 100% of proposals asking the company to include sexual orientation
eMployMent in its equal employment opportunity policy.
pRoactive Social inveSting
SeRving local neeDS globally tHRoUgH
Community and proactive social investing is a growing part of
TIAA-CREF’s comprehensive approach to SRI. TIAA-CREF focuses
on opportunities where we have specialized expertise, as well as
the ability to invest effectively and with the greatest possible impact
from both a financial and social perspective. In doing so, we often
collaborate with like-minded investors, foundations and development
banks to seek market-based approaches and sound business models
that address critical social and environmental needs.
Under the direction of our Global Social and Community Investment
Department, TIAA-CREF expanded or enhanced several community
investing initiatives over the past year, funded through the TIAA
8 socIallY responsIBle InvestIng at tIaa-cref
global MicRoFinance inveStMent pRogRaM
In February 2008, TIAA-CREF made a $10 million investment in Catalyst Microfinance
Investors (CMI), a private equity investment fund focused on microfinance opportunities
in Asia and Africa. This investment is part of our $100 million, four-year Global
Microfinance Investment Program that began in September 2006 with a $43 million
private equity placement in ProCredit Holding AG, a leading microfinance company.
Microfinance investments enable clients to seek competitive returns through
investments that promote human rights and economic development.
coMMUnity banK DepoSit pRogRaM
Through this program, launched in January 2007, TIAA-CREF makes sizable
investments in FDIC-insured certificates of deposit at local community development
banks that help underserved communities. The first investment was for $22 million
with subsidiaries of ShoreBank Corp., America's largest community development bank.
We have rolled these initial deposits into 2008 and are in the process of identifying
additional banks through which we can expand our overall investment in this program.
coRpoRate Social Real eState pRogRaM
This program focuses on investments in affordable housing, workforce housing,
urban and transit-oriented commercial development, and sustainable (“green”)
development. As of March 2008, TIAA-CREF had an aggregate committed amount
of approximately $572 million representing multiple investments in areas earmarked
as Economic Development Areas and/or Lower to Moderate Income census tracts.
Examples of recent investments include the following:
A $30 million commitment in the Community Reinvestment Partners II Fund,
a private equity fund established to acquire, renovate and reposition retail real
estate properties (all meeting the criteria of qualified investments under the
Community Reinvestment Act) in major metropolitan areas throughout the
southeastern United States.
A $25 million commitment in the Phoenix Realty Group Metropolitan Workforce
Housing Fund, a private equity fund investing in “smart growth” urban and
infill development, including projects expected to generate significant revenue
and job creation.
A $30 million commitment in the Thomas Properties Group High Performance
Green Fund, an example of specialized real estate investing that supports TIAA-
CREF’s commitment to environmental stewardship. (See “TIAA-CREF: Tackling
Global Climate Change,” page 10.)
Finally, TIAA-CREF continues in its commitment to finance affordable housing
nationwide though its revolving loan and hybrid debt investments with Impact
Community Capital on the West Coast, and with Community Preservation
Corporation in the northeastern United States.
All of these investments collectively serve the objectives of our Corporate Social
Real Estate Program by combining outstanding sponsorship, high social impact
and attractive return potential.
global cliMate cHange
in tHe SRi SpotligHt
applying oUR integRateD appRoacH FoR MaxiMUM iMpact
For some socially conscious investors, global climate change is among the most pressing issues of
our time. Investing in a way that promotes environmental responsibility while offering competitive
return potential requires expertise, resources, commitment, and the ability to influence change in
companies and markets.
TIAA-CREF addresses the issue of climate change in every facet of our SRI program: social
screening; shareholder advocacy and corporate engagement; and community and proactive
social investing. The table below highlights examples of our efforts in each of these areas.
tiaa-cReF: tacKling global cliMate cHange
Social ScReening SHaReHolDeR aDvocacy anD coMMUnity anD pRoactive
coRpoRate engageMent Social inveSting
Within the cref social choice across all tIaa-cref portfolios Within the tIaa general account
account and other socially or cref social choice account
screened portfolios (fixed-income portion)
enviRonMental cRiteRia pRoxy voting on cliMate tHoMaS pRopeRtieS gRoUp HigH
cHange iSSUeS peRFoRMance gReen FUnD
Key indicators for different industry
sectors are used to evaluate a company’s supported nine shareholder resolutions on a $30 million commitment in a private
environmental performance relative to that climate change in 2007, a trend that has equity fund investing in commercial
of sector peers. continued in 2008. properties that seek substantial
reductions in energy use, water
caRbon DiScloSURe pRoject
companies that produce large amounts
consumption, carbon impact and waste
of greenhouse gases during regular In January 2008, we renewed our position output, potentially leading to a leed
operations or through the use of their for a third year as a signatory to the (leadership in energy and environmental
products score poorly. carbon disclosure project (cdp), an design) rating from the u.s. green Building
investor initiative to increase voluntary council.
companies in industries with the largest
corporate reporting on critical topics
footprints face particular challenges in SHoRebanK paciFic
such as greenhouse gas emissions and
meeting the minimum screening criteria:
commercial risks. ten percent of tIaa-cref’s community
—n oil and gas
Bank deposits are in shoreBank pacific,
—n chemicals for the second year in a row, tIaa-cref a commercial bank committed to
—n Mining sent letters encouraging more than 150 sustainable development and the principle
—n transportation s&p 500 portfolio companies that did not that “long-term community prosperity goes
previously participate to complete the
Inall sectors, companies with hand in hand with a healthy environment.”
cdp survey. the previous year, more
exemplary initiatives will generally
ll&p winD eneRgy
than 30 companies we contacted
completed the survey. a $4.2 million investment in ll&p Wind
—n alternative energy
energy, Inc. to fund the purchase of
—n clean technologies
wind-generated electricity that has been
—n pollution prevention
contracted to four rural utility providers
in the pacific northwest, allowing them
—n environmental management
to diversify their generating portfolio and
increase their use of renewable alternatives.
10 socIallY responsIBle InvestIng at tIaa-cref
going gReen in Real eState
tiaa-cReF taRgetS 10% eneRgy ReDUction in Real eState poRtFolio
In addition to our SRI strategies, TIAA-CREF has developed other innovative “tIaa-cref’s actions serve
as a model for the entire
ways to address global climate change, including a program that seeks a 10%
financial services industry.
reduction in energy use among the properties in our real estate portfolio.
— u.s. environmental
As the owner of 43 million square feet of office buildings, as well as a large portfolio
of other commercial and multi-family real estate assets, TIAA-CREF is one of
America’s largest institutional real estate investors. By the end of March 2008,
the buildings in our office portfolio had already cut energy use by an amount
equivalent to 36 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.
epa awaRDS “eneRgy StaR” paRtneR oF tHe yeaR awaRD to tiaa-cReF
In recognition of the strategic energy management of our real estate assets and
reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, in March 2008 the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) named TIAA-CREF a 2008 ENERGY STAR Partner
of the Year.
“TIAA-CREF’s improvements in energy efficiency are reducing the carbon footprint
and increasing the value of their real estate assets to the benefit of their clients,”
the EPA said in announcing the award. “TIAA-CREF’s actions serve as a model
for the entire financial services industry.”
a StRategic appRoacH
TIAA-CREF’s Global Social and Community Investing team,
part of TIAA-CREF Asset Management, oversees our social
screening and community/proactive social investing strategies.
The Corporate Governance Department, part of our Law and
Compliance group, manages the shareholder advocacy and
corporate engagement programs.
In addition to the TIAA-CREF professionals who are fully
dedicated to SRI, further in-house expertise is provided by the
investment teams who manage TIAA-CREF’s socially screened
portfolios, with essential support from many other functional
areas of the company. The trustees of TIAA and CREF oversee
the balance between social responsibility and the organization’s
fiduciary obligations. Valued input from our participants helps
shape the direction and priorities of our SRI program as well.
we invite yoU to leaRn MoRe
TIAA-CREF’s philosophy, experience and specialized expertise in socially responsible
investing make us a leader in this increasingly important area of asset management.
Our integrated approach offers distinct advantages to individual and institutional
investors seeking to integrate SRI into their long-term financial goals. To learn
more about TIAA-CREF, including our commitment to socially responsible investing
and strong corporate governance, please visit our website at www.tiaa-cref.org.
TIAA-CREF is a national financial services organization and the leading provider
of retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields,
with $420 billion in combined assets under management as of March 31, 2008.
12 socIallY responsIBle InvestIng at tIaa-cref
inDUStRy leaDeRSHip anD collaboRation
In addition to our internal SRI capabilities, TIAA-CREF meets regularly tiaa-cReF MeMbeRSHip
in SRi anD goveRnance
with non-governmental organizations, labor unions, pension fund managers,
public officials and other stakeholders on issues that comprise the focus of our
SRI program. asian corporate governance
We also collaborate with leading industry groups and with external business association for sustainable and
partners who provide independent, specialized expertise in key aspects of SRI. responsible Investment in asia
Through membership in several organizations dedicated to SRI in general
carbon disclosure project
or to specific environmental, social or governance topics, TIAA-CREF is part
center on corporate citizenship
of a broader SRI network that works to inform, educate and advocate across
at Boston college
a range of key issues.
council of Institutional Investors
Among those we partner with in the SRI arena are the Social Investment european corporate
Forum (SIF), the International Association of Microfinance Investors (IAMFI), governance Institute
the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) and the Asian
Interfaith center on corporate
Corporate Governance Association (ACGA). responsibility (affiliate member)
International association of
Social inveStMent FoRUM
sIf is the only national membership organization dedicated to advancing the concept,
practice and growth of srI in the united states. tIaa-cref is represented on the sIf
board of directors and supports the work of the forum in many ways. for example, Investor network on climate risk
tIaa-cref was the benefactor sponsor of the 2007 edition of the report on socially
social Investment forum
responsible Investing trends in the united states, a biennial, comprehensive study
on the state of srI.
inteRnational aSSociation oF MicRoFinance inveStoRS
tIaa-cref is a founding member of IaMfI, which was created in february 2008 to
improve the global environment for microfinance investing. IaMfI provides independent,
comprehensive information and support to commercially oriented microfinance investors,
who help ensure that underserved clients, including low-income households and
enterprises, have access to capital and other financial services.
inteRnational coRpoRate goveRnance netwoRK
Icgn is an investor-led network focused on exchanging views and information on
international corporate governance issues and on developing corporate governance
standards and guidelines. our involvement with Icgn strengthens our ability to
develop governance strategies and practices that aim to protect and grow our
investments, mitigate risk and contribute to sustainable economic development.
aSian coRpoRate goveRnance aSSociation
acga is an independent, nonprofit membership organization that works with investors,
companies and regulators to implement effective corporate governance practices
throughout asia. acga was founded in 1999 on the belief that corporate governance
is fundamental to the long-term development of asian economies and capital markets.