U Maine to Divest From Fossil Fuel Holdings

In mid-May, the investment committee for the system's board of trustees approved a two-step plan to fully divest from fossil fuels by 2030—starting with the elimination of all direct fossil fuel holdings by the end of May.

U Manchester Divests From Fossil Fuels

(U.K.) The university's recently published Responsible Investment Report indicates that it is now divested from fossil fuel companies and has exceeded its target for reducing the carbon intensity of its other holdings.

Williams College to Phase Out Fossil Fuel Investments

The college's board of trustees recently committed to avoiding new investments in funds engaged in oil and gas extraction. Existing investments in oil and gas will phase out completely by 2033.

Marquette U Prohibits Direct Investments in Fossil Fuels

The university's board of trustees recently approved an updated investment policy for the university endowment. The new socially responsible investing and sustainability language strictly prohibits direct investments in public securities whose primary business is the exploration or extraction of fossil fuels. The university’s current investment portfolio does not include any direct public investments in fossil fuels.

Academics Sign Letter Encouraging Rejection of Research Funding From Fossil Fuel Companies

Five hundred academics from the U.S. and U.K. recently signed onto an open letter addressed to university leaders in the two countries, calling on them to reject all funding from fossil fuel companies for climate research. The letter cited the potential conflict of interest and compromise of academic freedom, as well as the opportunity for companies to greenwash their reputation.

Case Western Reserve U to Divest From Fossil Fuels

In a recent announcement, the president confirmed that the public side of the university's endowment portfolio is completely divested from fossil fuels exposure, and that the fossil fuel investments on the private side could take years to fully divest due to contractual obligations. Additionally, the university will not make any future investments in fossil fuel companies and in funds that include fossil fuel-related investments.

Dartmouth College to Divest From Fossil Fuel Holdings

In a recent announcement about steps to address the climate crisis, the college indicated a strategic investment of endowment funds, which includes investing in energy transitions while reducing all fossil fuel holdings to zero.

Princeton U to Dissociate From Fossil Fuel Companies

The university recently established an administrative process for dissociating from companies engaged in climate disinformation campaigns or that are involved in the thermal coal and tar sands segments of the fossil fuel industry. The university also has committed to reducing the aggregate harmful climate impact of the entirety of the university’s direct and indirect endowment holdings.

U Pennsylvania Announces Zero GHG Emissions From Investments

The University of Pennsylvania Office of Investments recently announced the goal of reducing the net greenhouse gas emissions from Penn’s endowment investments to zero by 2050.

U Tasmania Commits to Fossil Fuel Divestment

The university announced in mid-October during Global Climate Change Week that it will divest from fossil fuel-exposed investment funds by the end of 2021. The university has committed to applying a negative investment screen to fossil fuels and a positive screen to companies and funds that contribute to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

MIT Partners to Improve State Pension Investment Data

A new partnership between the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative and the Massachusetts state pension fund aims to provide data to investors who want to make decisions based on things like the way a company treats its workers, its carbon emissions or its product safety record. For MIT, the partnership will inform research questions and methodology to refine the challenges of integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into the investment process.

U California Berkeley Students Win the Student Corporate Engagement Competition

A panel of judges recently selected a team from the University of California, Berkeley as the inaugural winners of the SIILK Corporate Engagement Competition. They were recognized for preparing strong investment recommendations and shareholder engagement strategy to improve company performance (and investment returns) through better environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices. Hosted by the Intentional Endowments Network, the Student Corporate Engagement Competition invites student teams to write and present an investment recommendation for a publicly-traded company listed on any major exchange, and include in the investment recommendation a proposed shareholder engagement strategy that aims to improve company financial and sustainability performance.

U Vermont Divests From Fossil Fuels

The university's board of trustees voted unanimously in mid-July to immediately end new direct investment in fossil fuels, to fully divest from public investments in fossil fuels by July 2023 and to allow pre-existing multi-year private investments, which it stopped acquiring in 2017, to lapse without renewal. It will also accelerate an engagement campaign with managers of its commingled funds, asking that they factor the financial risks of climate change into their investment decision-making process and share their framework for doing so with the university.

George Washington U Commits to Fossil Fuel Divestment

The university board of trustees pledged in late June to not make any new investments in businesses that derive the majority of their revenue from the extraction of fossil fuels and agreed to eliminate 100 percent of all such investments from its endowment over the next five years. The board also committed to working with investment managers to encourage investment in companies with environmentally sustainable business practices.

15 Canadian HEIs Sign Investment Charter

A group of 15 Canadian higher education institutions in mid-June signed onto a charter pledging each school to follow responsible investment practices. The charter calls on all signatories to adopt a responsible investment framework to guide investment decision-making, regularly measure the carbon intensity of investment portfolios, evaluate their progress regularly, and share assessments publicly.

U Manchester to Decarbonize Its Investment Portfolio

(U.K.) The university recently announced that it will end investments in fossil fuel reserve and extraction companies by 2022, and decarbonize its investment portfolio by 2038. Its decarbonization commitment seeks to not only divest from fossil fuel companies but redirect its investments from carbon-intensive companies to companies that are more carbon efficient (emit less carbon for their level of activity).

Cornell U Announces Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Investments

The university's board of trustees voted in May to institute a moratorium on new private investments focused on fossil fuels and to grow its investments in alternative energy technologies. The moratorium emerged from the university's Investment Committee review of its $6.9 billion endowment portfolio; the near- and medium-term financial outlook for the coal, oil and gas industries; and the potential threat posed by climate change. The percentage of long-term investments focused on fossil fuels is expected to dwindle to zero over time as existing investments mature.

U Illinois System Invests $160M Using ESG Lens

The university system recently invested nearly $160 million of the system endowment into a new environmentally and socially focused strategy launched by a global asset manager. The three-university system’s investment decision was rooted in its Guiding Principles, which include financial and environmental sustainability.

IEN Launches Blog Series

Intentional Endowments Network launched a new blog series featuring IEN members sharing their thoughts about intentional endowment investing in the face of the global pandemic. The first post comes from Arizona State University.