IEN’s Endowment Snapshots are updated annually. In the past year, we’ve seen some encouraging trends in sustainable investment among higher education institutions. In 2019 and 2020, multiple schools announced their plans to fully divest from fossil fuels, including Brown University, Middlebury College, University of California, University of North Carolina Asheville, and University of Vermont.
Fifteen Canadian universities signed on to a charter committing to increased efforts to address the climate crisis. Signatories of the charter pledged to incorporate ESG (environmental, social, governance) criteria into their investment processes and regularly measure the carbon intensity of their investment portfolios. Many of the schools featured in this report were also featured in IEN’s 2020 Financial Performance of Sustainable Investing case study. The study found that endowments utilizing sustainable investing practices performed as well as or better than endowments that employed a traditional investing approach.