News Coverage

News and opinion articles about socially responsible investment at Harvard and its peer institutions. Check back for updates!

Responsible Ownership campaign

Study Says Harvard-Owned Plantations Have Damaged Argentine Wetlands by Steven Watros (The Crimson, October 16, 2013): Article about Harvard in Ibera report.

Harvard Investments May Harm Argentine Wetlands, Students Say by Michael McDonald. (Businessweek, October 15, 2013).

Harvard’s Exploitation in Chile by Sandra Korn and Krishna Dasaratha (The Crimson, April 29, 2013): Details the environmental and social harm done by Harvard’s industrial timber company Agricola Brinzal on the island of Chiloe in Chile.

Harvard, Be a Responsible Owner! by Kevin Wang, Caroline Zhang, and Alexi White (The Crimson, May 17, 2013): Launches RI’s second campaign for Harvard to adopt a position of responsible ownership of all directly-held companies.

Fair Harvard Fund / Social Choice Fund campaign

Harvard Announces Selection for Social Choice Fund Investments (Harvard Gazette, May 23, 2013): Harvard will invest its new Social Alternative fund in Parnassus.

Harvard to Create Social Choice Fund by Ibby Caputo (WGBH, December 13, 2012): Article about the university’s announcement that it will create a social choice fund.

Commencement 2012 / Year in Review: Responsible Investment by Hana Rouse (The Crimson, May 24, 2012): The Crimson’s wrap-up of socially responsible investment at Harvard, from the HEI campaign to our demands.

Harvard, Others Face New Tactics by SRI Backers by Billy Nauman (FundFire, May 29, 2012): Article about the Fair Harvard Fund in FundFire, a Financial Times service.

A College’s Endowment Portfolio Should Match Its Mission by Joshua Humphreys (The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 6, 2012): A leader on responsible institutional investment policies calls on Harvard and other universities to catch up with other institutional investors in adopting responsible investment practices.

375 Harvard Donors Petition University to Invest Responsibly (PolicyMic, May 3rd 2012): The Fair Harvard Fund reached its goal of 375 donors as Harvard celebrated its 375 birthday. PolicyMic republished the op-ed Funding Harvard More Fairly with an update on the campaign’s progress.

The Fair Harvard Fund Endorsement Act from the Graduate Student Council (May 2nd 2012): The Harvard Graduate Student Council, a group of more than 50 departmental and program-specific representatives from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and sciences, passed a Fair Harvard Fund endorsement.

Students and Administration Together (Harvard Crimson, April 19th 2012): Felix de Rosen, the student representative to the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility, outlined the limits of the committee and the need for reform. He suggested the key to responsible investment is to “join the shared experiences of the administration and the students.”

How Harvard Is Ignoring the Failures of Our System — and Why We Can’t Any Longer (The Huffington Post, April 18th 2012): Martin Bourqui, National Organizer at the Responsible Endowments Coalition, discusses the removal of Joshua Humphreys from the UC Town Hall. Bourqui responsible investment of university endowments, particularly his alma mater Harvard, as a “moral imperative” demanding action.

UC Votes to Endorse the Fair Harvard Fund (Harvard Crimson, April 17th 2012): The Undergraduate Council voted to endorse the Fair Harvard Fund and Responsible Investment at Harvard and to publicize the fund among the student body.

Funding Harvard More Fairly (Harvard Crimson, April 16th 2012): The Harvard Crimson editorial board endorsed the Fair Harvard Fund as a “commendable movement.” The editorial went on to state that “with the constructive potential of its vision, the movement surely has a bright future.”

Last-Minute Change to Panel on Harvard’s Investments Sparks Controversy (Harvard Crimson, April 9th 2012): The “Undergraduate Council rescinded its invitation last week to former Harvard lecturer Joshua Humphreys­ to participate on a panel on Harvard’s investment policies.” The article quoted from the statement released in response by RI@Harvard.

Harvard Professors Discuss University Endowments (The Crimson, April 6th 2012): In a Town Hall hosted by the Undergraduate Council, a panel including former Harvard Management Company CEO Robert Kaplan and socially responsible fund manager Robert Zevin discussed Harvard’s endowment. Kaplan said that if asked to create a social choice fund, the HMC “will figure out a way to do it and do it successfully.”

Harvard Will Not Reinvest in HEI Hotels & Resorts (Harvard Crimson, April 1st 2012): Several months after the university announced a review of HEI’s business practices, Harvard Management Company committed not to reinvest in HEI Hotels & Resorts. The decision came under calls from student groups including RI@Harvard.

Staff Editorial: Responsible Investment at Harvard (Perspective Magazine, March 25th 2012): The staff of Harvard College’s monthly liberal magazine Perspective made the case for changing Harvard’s endowment practices to better incorporate the environmental and social impacts into its decision-making processes.

A Fair Harvard Fund (Harvard Crimson, March 21st 2012): The RI@H Coalition’s Crimson op-ed called on Harvard to create a Social Choice Fund invested according to existing environmental, social and governance criteria. The op-ed announced the creation of the Fair Harvard Fund, which encourages the university to create a social choice fund.

Investing in Harvard’s Future (Harvard Crimson, March 1st, 2012): The second op-ed by RI@Harvard members asked “why doesn’t Harvard engage in responsible investing?” The article goes on to explain why socially responsible investing is financially viable and even prudent, citing studies on portfolio performance as well as instances of divestment in Harvard history.

HEI Campaign and past coverage of responsible investment

University to Stop HEI Investments (Daily Princetonian, March 1st 2012): Princeton announced it would stop investing in HEI hospitality. The administration said the decision, which came after student activism on the issue, was “based purely on business reasons.” Princeton joined Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, and Brown University as the fourth Ivy League school to cease investment in HEI.

Harvard’s Money Matters (Harvard Crimson, December 14th, 2011): In a Crimson op-ed, RI@Harvard members called for socially responsible and mission-aligned investments. The article asks Harvard Management Company to commit to not reinvest in HEI hospitality, Alpha Natural Resources, and Emergent Asset Management, to set up a social choice fund, to create a responsible investment unit, and to disclose investments annually.

Statement from Katie Lapp, Harvard Executive Vice President, regarding HEI Hotels & Resorts (Harvard Gazette, December 9th 2011): Under pressure from student groups, Harvard agreed to  “review HEI’s business practices and policies, including labor relations, and its compliance with industry standards, regulations and laws, prior to making any decision to re-invest in HEI-sponsored investment funds.”

Yale will halt future investments in HEI (Yale Daily News, November 29th 2011): Last November, Yale University announced it would cease future investment in HEI Hotels and Resorts. HEI had come under fire at Yale and nationally for its exploitative labor practices.

US universities in Africa ‘land grab’ (Guardian, June 8th 2011): A report by the Oakland Institute detailed Harvard’s central role in buying and leasing huge tracts of African land through Emergent Asset Management. According to the institute’s director, Anirudha Mittal, “analysis of the contracts reveal that many of the deals will provide few jobs and will force many thousands of people off the land.”

Towards a Coherent Divestment Policy (The Crimson, February 17, 2006):  Manav K. Bhatnagar and Benjamin B. Collins call for Harvard to commit itself to ethical investment standards and establish a system for accountability to ensure that it keeps its promise.


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