Endowment Value: $40.9 billion (2019)
Harvard University is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Harvard Management Company (HMC) manages the endowment, the largest college endowment in the world.
In 1972, Harvard established the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (ACSR) and the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (CCSR). The ACSR considers shareholder resolutions and makes recommendations to the CCSR, which makes decisions on how Harvard should vote on those resolutions.
In 2013, Harvard established the Social Alternative Fund, managed separately from Harvard’s endowment and invested with special consideration given to social responsibility issues. In the same year, the Harvard Management Company created the position of Vice President of Sustainable Investing, who works to integrate sustainability principles into Harvard’s investment policy and acts as the liaison between the Management Company and other ESG-related organizations at Harvard. Kate Murtagh is the current Managing Director of Sustainable Investing and the Chief Compliance Officer of HMC.
In 2014, Harvard became the first organization in the United States to be a signatory of both the Carbon Disclosure Project and the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. The Harvard Management Company’s sustainable investment approach outlines three methods of investing more sustainably, to read the full policy click here. The student body and campus organizations such as Harvard Undergraduates for Environmental Justice and Divest Harvard remain active in maintaining a dialogue on divestment from fossil fuels and unethical land usage such as the deforestation of indigenous lands in Brazil and overdrafting water in drought-stricken California.
In November of 2019, Harvard released an update to the school’s sustainable investment strategy. The update summarized Harvard’s work in recent years to further integrate sustainable investment into HMC’s investment strategy, including highlighting Harvard’s status as a signatory to the Ceres Investor Network, Climate Action 100+, and Principles for Responsible Investment.
In April of 2020, Harvard announced its plan for its endowment to go carbon-neutral by 2050, in accordance with goals set by the Paris Agreement. The commitment is the first of its kind made by an American university.
Harvard University is a participant or member of the following Initiatives & Commitments:
- AASHE STARS: No
- ACUPCC: No
- Billion Dollar Green Challenge: Yes
- CDP: Yes
- Divestment Goal: No
- Committee for Investor Responsibility: Yes: The Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility
- INCR: Yes
- Montreal Carbon Pledge: No
- Sustainable Investment Fund: Yes
- Sustainable Investment Policy: Yes
- Principles for Responsible Investment: Yes
Other Sustainable Investing Practices:
- Harvard's 2021 Climate Report (February 2020)
- Harvard Endowment Net-Zero Portfolio Commitment (April 2020)
- Sustainable Investment Update (November 2019)
- Harvard Joins Climate Action 100+ (September 2019)
- Harvard Social Alternative Fund (2013)
- Harvard Sustainability
- Endowment Synopsis Video
- Harvard Shareholder Responsibility Committee