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Responsible Investment Principles

Posted November 2023


The UC Davis Foundation (UCDF) Board of Trustees recognizes that consideration of material environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors is part of prudent investment management in practicing risk assessment and determining return opportunities, and is compatible with and augments the board’s fiduciary duty to exercise a standard of care, skill, prudence and diligence in the management of UCDF assets. 

The UCDF Board of Trustees also recognizes that a commitment to incorporating principles of diversity, inclusion and equity, the fair treatment of people resulting in equitable opportunities and positive outcomes for all, is consistent with the board’s fiduciary duty of obedience to the public benefit purpose of the UCDF. 

Guiding Principles

The following principles have been established to help guide interpretation and implementation.  The principles are also informed by the UCDF approach that relies on external investment experts through an Outsourced Chief Investment Officer (OCIO) model.

The UCDF Board of Trustees recognizes that definitions, measurement and standards of best practice continually evolve, and that these principles will require periodic review and refinement.  In addition, these principles could at times conflict with each other.  In such cases, the board will be guided through its fiduciary duty of care, using reasonable inquiry, evidence and judgment to weigh and balance integration of the principles into the UCDF investment approach and toward the ultimate goal of providing competitive returns and supporting UC Davis.

  • Competitive Returns: As long-term investors of endowment assets, our primary investment objective is to seek competitive levels of return consistent with prudent risk levels, and through the systematic integration and assessment of risks and opportunities posed by the consideration of ESG factors.
  • Accountability: We hold our OCIOs accountable for the consideration of ESG factors in the investment process. Specifically, we request that our OCIOs are proactive in sourcing and selecting investment funds whereby the managers are skilled at integrating ESG analysis to generate competitive risk-adjusted returns, and to report on the progress of achievement of these practices and the resulting financial results.
  • Social Equity: We are committed to principles of diversity, equity and inclusion. Specifically, we hold our OCIOs accountable for demonstrating an inclusive, unbiased process for identifying and selecting investment managers across race, ethnicity and gender.  
  • Sustainability: We encourage our OCIOs to consider fund managers and investments that mitigate operational risk and capture growth opportunities related to sustainability, and to report on the progress of achievement of these practices and the financial results.
  • Stewardship: We seek to steward the resources that have been entrusted to us. In doing so, we aim to be open, responsive and accountable to our many diverse constituencies. We expect the same level of openness, responsiveness and accountability from our OCIO investment partners.