Establishing an official position or committee within the endowment governance structure that can liaise between stakeholders and decision makers supports continued exchange of knowledge, research and trust building between decision makers and stakeholders in the long term.
Several schools have created Committees on Investor Responsibility that may liaise with students, staff, faculty, and investment committees. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education has developed guidance to help colleges and universities create effective committees through its Sustainability Tracking and Reporting System (STARS), a self-reporting framework for universities to track their sustainability performance (see more about STARS at the monitoring and communicating step of the roadmap).
STARS defines a Committee on Investor Responsibility as “a committee created by an institution to ensure that the social and environmental aspects of the institution’s investments are aligned with its mission and goals—both financial and otherwise."
It recommends the following two characteristics for an effective committee:
- committee makes recommendations to fund decision makers on socially and environmentally responsible investment opportunities across asset classes, including proxy voting on a regular basis.
- multi-stakeholder representation - including faculty, staff, alumni, students
For more on how to receive STARS credit for a Committee on Investor Responsibility, see STARS CIR
IEN has compiled a list of colleges/universities with Committees on Investor Responsibility which includes information on committee composition, committee charter, year founded and links to the committee website and STARS reports.
We have also compiled a summary of the practices and composition of Committees: The State of Committees on Investor Responsibility in Higher Education (2018).