To secure a strong financial foundation for the university, Washington University Investment Management Company (WUIMC) seeks to generate the highest investment returns over the long term within established risk boundaries. WUIMC believes that the long-term pursuit of financial returns is inherently biased toward investments that have highly positive impact. Therefore, companies whose core goods and services address major global social and environmental issues — such as climate change, food insecurity, lack of access to health care, resource degradation — have the potential to generate significant returns over the coming decades. With that in mind, WUIMC seeks to partner with skilled investment managers that identify and source access to businesses and companies pursuing solutions to complex issues and that are able to capitalize on disruptive investment opportunities.
|POSITIVE IMPACT AREAS||DESCRIPTION||EST.%|
|HEALTH CARE||Access, affordability, and innovations in life sciences and disease research||10%||$942 M|
|FINANCIAL INCLUSION||Accessibility to affordable and secure financial products and services||6%||$560 M|
|TECHNOLOGY||Access to technology; advancements in manufacturing, semi-conductors, and communications||5%||$456 M|
|Provisions of early childhood education, vocational training, and human resource development||3%||$311 M|
|PRODUCT & LABOR SAFETY||Development of workplace and consumer product safety, mobility devices, and data security/privacy||2%||$166 M|
|HOUSING||Investments in affordable housing, construction, and fair-lending programs||2%||$159 M|
|FOOD TECH & SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE||Expansion of global food supply and sustainable agricultural practices||1%||$90 M|
|CLEAN TECH & RENEWABLE ENERGY||Enhancement of solar, hydro and wind power, grid engineering, water management, and zero-emission transportation||1%||$76 M|
|TOTAL POSITIVE IMPACT||30%||$2,760 M|
Given the varying degree of company-specific transparency across the portfolio, WUIMC has developed its own framework for reporting on the portfolio’s positive impact. The framework is informed by an extensive review of third-party market data and relies to a substantial extent on the reporting of WUIMC’s external investment managers. The goal is to keep up to date on best practices and continue to improve reporting on the positive impact in the endowment portfolio.
Two of the endowment’s indirect portfolio holdings that demonstrate commitment and vision to positive impact are:
Biocon delivers innovative and cost-effective biopharmaceuticals to millions of patients globally. The company — founded in 1978 as a small manufacturer and exporter of enzymes — has since grown to become India’s largest biopharmaceutical company with more than 12,000 employees. Biocon has four main business segments: generics, biosimilars, research services, and novel biologics. The company has continued to find new ways to treat diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune diseases, and its biosimilars business has enabled improved access to advanced therapies for chronic conditions. As part of the company’s mission to make drugs more affordable, Biocon intends to provide its insulin biosimilar at less than 10 cents per day to governments of low and middle-income countries, where insulin has traditionally been unavailable due to high prices. The company hopes to reach one in five insulindependent people worldwide.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp (“SpaceX”) is a California-based company that designs, manufactures, and launches rockets, satellites, and spacecraft. It was founded in 2002 with the goal of dramatically reducing space launch and transportation costs by designing reusable rockets. The company’s vehicles provide launch services for commercial and government customers with payloads including satellites, ISS resupply cargo, and astronauts. SpaceX currently operates the world’s only reusable orbitalclass rockets, having landed 60 rockets and re-launched 42 previously flown vehicles. SpaceX also operates Starlink, a satellite constellation program of unprecedented size, that will deliver high speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or unavailable. The service will be especially important to the billions who do not experience the educational, social, and economic benefits of a stable and strong internet connection. Starlink internet is expected to begin providing commercial service by 2021.