President Faust responds, won’t discuss Chilean investments

On August 6, 2013, Harvard President Drew Faust emailed the Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition regarding our concerns with Harvard’s investment practices. She declined our invitation to talk about responsible investing but said she will continue to remain aware of discussions taking place on campus.

We are glad that our president is paying attention to those who are calling for investment transparency and accountability at Harvard. Yet we are disappointed that President Faust has again declined to investigate and mitigate risks to the environment, workers, and communities.

In order to learn about what is really happening in communities where Harvard is investing, members of our Coalition are in contact with individuals and local organizations at home and abroad. We intend to release findings shortly, as this information is critical to assessing Harvard’s investments.

We expect that President Faust will not only listen to these findings but take action.

  • Read the full letter from President Faust to RI@H below.

Dear Members of the Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition,

Thank you for sharing your perspectives on Harvard’s investment practices.  As you are aware, there has been a robust conversation on campus over the past year about the University’s holdings, including students meeting with members of the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility, panel discussions, and vigorous debate in the Crimson and other venues.  I look forward to following these continuing campus conversations with interest.  With regard to climate change–a concern I know we share–I wanted to be sure that you knew I had dedicated a portion of my Commencement speech this year to characterizing some of the ways in which Harvard seeks to counteract, and develop solutions for, climate change. You can find the text of my speech here: http://www.harvard.edu/president/2013-commencement-speech.

You have written me, too, about Harvard Management Company investments in Chile.  Sustainability is a key element of our natural resources investment strategy, and we all share the goal of responsible stewardship of forests.  I am aware of the cases that you referred to, and HMC is confident that the courts, once they have reviewed all the facts of each case, will conclude that the company overseeing Harvard’s properties in Chile has acted in compliance with the law.

I am not able to join you for your event on September 17, but look forward to learning about the discussions that take place.

With best wishes for the rest of the summer and the upcoming semester,

Sincerely,

Drew Faust

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PRESS RELEASE: Coalition welcomes Harvard’s first Vice President for Sustainable Investing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Harvard Coalition welcomes University’s first 

Vice President for Sustainable Investing

Contact Stephanie Cappa at Stephanie.Cappa@gmail.com or 757-207-2777

CAMBRIDGE, MA – The Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition welcomes Jameela Pedicini as Harvard’s first Vice President for Sustainable Investing.

According to a Harvard Management Company (HMC) press release, Pedicini “will work with HMC investment professionals across asset classes to analyze how ESG issues are currently integrated into the investment process and suggest enhancements where appropriate.”

She will also provide “substantive staff support to Harvard University’s Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (CCSR) and serve as a primary liaison to other University offices, committees, and constituents on ESG/investor responsibility issues.”

“The University has listened to students and community members calling on Harvard’s investments to be aligned with Harvard’s values,” said Alexi White (HKS, ‘13). “We warmly welcome Jameela as Harvard’s first investment officer to focus on environment, social, and governance issues.”

Pedicini formerly served as Investment Officer for Global Governance with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and as a Manager of Investor Engagements at the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment London office.

“We look forward to working with Ms. Pedicini to ensure that all Harvard investments – starting with wholly-owned companies like Agricola Brinzal in Chiloe and the Doubletree Hotel in Allston – meet basic standards for land rights, labor rights, and environmental protection,” said Sandra Korn (College, ’14). “This is an important step to extend Harvard’s commitment to responsibility, ethical leadership, and comprehensive sustainability to its endowment.”

The Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition will deliver an invitation to meet with Jameela in the coming days.