Endowment Value: $26.4 billion (June 2018)
Stanford University is a private university, located in Stanford, California with approximately 17,000 students. The Stanford Management Company (SMC) and Board of Trustees oversee the endowment. Stanford is currently one of only six higher education institutions to earn the highest rank in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), due to its significant efforts to integrate positive social and environmental impact across its curriculum, operations, and investments.
Since its first adoption of a statement on investor responsibility in 1971,Stanford has recognized its responsibility as an investor and has periodically outlined and updated policies to guide its commitment to responsible investment in a contemporary context. The SMC’s Ethical Investment Framework was adopted in 2018 to govern and compliment this existing statement. According to the framework, investment decisions are guided based on the understanding that businesses are far more likely to endure, and to generate sustainable returns on investor capital, when they behave with due regard for the welfare of their stakeholders
and the communities in which they operate. Stanford currently has a Special Committee on Investment Responsibility (SCIR) of the Board of Trustees as well as Investment Responsibility and Stakeholder Relations (IRSR) office to review proposals submitted within the community and function as an ad-hoc, issue-based fact-finding committee responsible for research and campus engagement where needed.
As such, Stanford’s efforts to address environmental, social, and governance issues through its management of its endowment has manifested in actions such as adopting a climate change proxy voting guideline to support resolutions for companies to analyze levels of greenhouse gas emissions and develop plans to reduce and/or eliminate them. With regards to divestment, Stanford has also adopted policies that preclude owning specific companies with operations implicated in Sudanese human rights abuses, the tobacco industry, and companies whose principal business is coal mining for electricity.
Stanford has recently committed $10 million over a 10-year period beginning in 2018 to develop an expanded platform of educational and research opportunities for students and faculty with interests in responsible, sustainable and impact investing and governance.
Stanford University is a participant or member of the following Initiatives & Commitments:
- AASHE STARS: Yes, Platinum
- ACUPCC: No
- Billion Dollar Green Challenge: No
- CDP: No
- Committee for Investor Responsibility: Yes: The Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility and Licensing
- Divestment Goal: Yes, Coal Only
- INCR: Yes
- Montreal Carbon Pledge: No
- Sustainable Investment Fund: No
- Sustainable Investment Policy: Yes
- Principles for Responsible Investment: No
Other Sustainable Investing Practices:
- Commitment to at least Net Zero GHG emissions in the endowment by 2050 (June 2020)
- Letter to the university community from Board of Trustees Chair Jeff Raikes on investment responsibility (December 4, 2018)
- Frequently asked questions on investment responsibility
- Statement on Investment Responsibility (Adopted 1971, as amended through 2018)
- Stanford Management Company: Ethical Investment Framework
- Investment Responsibility Stakeholder Relations (IRSR)
- Sustainable Stanford