As the new academic year begins, we want to call your attention to a couple more summer news items about Responsible Investment at Harvard. The Calvert Foundation blogged about the Fair Harvard Fund in a post entitled Campus Activists Growing The Impact Economy. The article reads:
Despite success at Williams College and many other universities, creating a social choice fund for university endowment money has not become much easier. Passionate student activism is still at the heart of these efforts. This struggle is exemplified by Harvard University’s Responsible Investment at Harvard (RI@Harvard) movement. Much in the same way Williams College achieved success, RI@Harvard has set up an independent fund called the Fair Harvard Fund to prove the effectiveness of impact investing. Fundraising for the Fair Harvard Fund has involved community awareness campaigns, development of online and multimedia content (such as the video below), and cross posting articles on major online news outlets such as PolicyMic and The Huffington Post. (We’re rooting for you RI@Harvard!).
At top1000funds.com, Endowments fall from grace discussed RI@Harvard in the context of the decline in ESG integration at colleges and universities. From the piece:
Launched in 2011, Responsible Investment at Harvard describes itself as a “broad coalition of students, alumni and staff”. The organisation was established to pressure the Harvard Management Company (HMC) to initiate greater ESG integration in its investment decision making for the $32 billion endowment.
It has called for the endowment to adopt a transparent policy to incorporate environmental, social and governance due diligence into all aspects of the investment portfolio, as well as set up a social choice fund to prioritise impact investment opportunities.
In an interview in the Harvard Gazette in May, HMC president and chief executive officer Jane Mendillo responded to concerns about the fund’s sustainable investing practices.
Mendillo says that as a long-term investor the fund had a responsibility to look closely at the sustainability of all investments.
“All of our investments are thoroughly vetted for their potential returns, their risks, and also for their sustainability.
Our due diligence process includes critical evaluation of issues related to environment, labour practices and corporate governance,” she told the university newspaper.
We’d like to thank both publications for their coverage.