Sign our change.org petition HERE.
Text of the petition:
Dear Leaders of Harvard University and the Harvard Management Company,
As you know, a Harvard education aims to teach its students the skills to make the world a better one. We are encouraged to think critically about social problems, to create our own innovative solutions to them, and as a result of this education, to demonstrate the individual responsibility we each have to society.
But I believe there is a dangerous disconnect between the principles that guide the University’s socially beneficial education and research, and those that inform the investment strategies of the Harvard Management Company (HMC).
We ought to end that disconnect. I believe that a responsible University endowment is one that aligns with Harvard’s mission, “to encourage students […] to assume responsibility for the consequences of personal actions [and] to advance knowledge, to promote understanding, and to serve society,” and not one that is governed by short term profit-seeking and disregard for its social and environmental impacts. Moreover, I believe that the University endowment should adhere to principles of social responsibility, transparency, and accountability in addition to upholding its fiduciary responsibility.
I call on the University and the HMC to make the following changes to the school’s current investment strategy to bring it closer to these principles:
1) Establish a social choice fund, allowing alumni an opportunity to direct investment of their donations to local community development financial institutions which provide responsible lending and financial services to under-served low and moderate-income communities in our greater Boston community.
2) Integrate environmental, social and corporate governance criteria in all asset classes of the endowment through the creation of a new responsible investment unit within the HMC.
3) Modernize the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility and the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility to make them more transparent, accountable, and meaningful for today’s endowment management.
4) Promote transparency and accountability in the Harvard endowment by annually disclosing investment holdings, the asset values of individual investments, the identity of outside managers and their fee arrangements, as well as HMC compensation arrangements.
I urge you to consider each of these proposals seriously. Together we can make Harvard a leading socially responsible investor.
[115 signators already!]