Williams College

Endowment Value: $2.7 billion (June 2018)

Williams College is a private college located in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  With about 2,100 students, every student is encouraged to support and help the sustainable initiatives on campus. The Chief Investment Officer and Board of Trustees oversees the endowment.

At Williams College, the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (ACSR) is non-standing committee composed of faculty, students, and alumni that serves to provide advice to the Investment Committee of the BoT on matters relating to non-financial aspects of the investment portfolio such as environmental and social issues. Overall the ACSR recognizes the importance of combining strong financial performance with social and environmental commitment. For example, on the topic of fossil fuel divestment, in 2015 the Committee published "A Proposal for Divestment"  and presented to the BoT. Although the President and Board rejected the proposal, it was decided that Williams would make significant investments in clean energy projects, practices and companies, and in its core educational mission including the establishment of several sustainable endowment pools.

It is also important to note that as of July 1, 2015, the college had no direct holdings of shares in any of the 200 companies identified in the divestment proposal, nor does it have plans to acquire any. Williams also aims to achieve sustainable carbon neutrality by the end of 2020.

Williams College currently has several sustainable investment funds. The social choice fund has existed for endowment donors since 2002 and has three primary aspects: “voting on companies’ shareholder resolutions that deal with social, ethical, or environmental issues; screening from portfolio companies thought to do harm; seeking investments in companies and organizations believed to produce social good.” In addition, from the aftermath of the aforementioned divestment proposal, Williams College created a dedicated fossil fuel-free investment fund held parallel to the endowment as well as a low-carbon vehicle within the College’s employee retirement plan.

 

Williams College is a participant or member of the following Initiatives & Commitments: 

  • AASHE STARS: Yes, Silver
  • ACUPCC: No
  • Billion Dollar Green Challenge: No
  • CDP: No
  • Committee on Investor Responsibility: Yes
  • Divestment Goal: No
  • INCR: No
  • Montreal Carbon Pledge: No
  • Sustainable Investment Fund: Yes
  • Sustainable Investment Policy: Yes (page 6)
  • Principles for Responsible Investment: No

 

Other Sustainable Investing Practices and News:

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