Ball State University is a public university, located in Muncie, Indiana. It has an endowment of $224 million that is managed by the Ball State University Foundation. The mission of the Ball State University Foundation is to maximize sustainable support for Ball State University by obtaining, investing, and administering private gift support and prudently discharging its fiduciary obligations to the university, donors, and designated beneficiaries.
In spring 2012, the university launched its geothermal district heating and cooling system — the nation’s largest ground-source, closed-loop district geothermal energy system, benefiting the economy and the environment. Now, nearly fully operational, the system will cut the university’s carbon footprint in half and result in an annual savings of $2 million, said Jim Lowe, director of engineering, construction, and operations at Ball State.“When we shut down the coal-fired burners in March 2014, we not only reduced our dependence on fossil fuels, we also reduced carbon dioxide emissions and sulfur matter produced by burning coal,” Lowe said.
In 2015, after more than a year studying industry standards, and the fossil fuel stock divestment positions of universities and companies around the world, board members of the Ball State University Foundation supported pursuing an alternative investment portfolio that adopts environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies. The foundation is encouraging its fund advisors and managers to incorporate ESG strategies. Further, foundation employees are developing opportunities for donors who wish to have gifts managed via more specific, restrictive criteria.
Ball State University is a participant or member of the following Initiatives & Commitments:
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Endowment Value: $568 million (June 2018)
The University of Dayton is a private Roman Catholic research university located in Dayton, Ohio. It has approximately 11,000 students. All University investments are overseen by the Investment Committee of the University's Board of Trustees.
In 2014, the board of trustees at the University of Dayton unanimously voted to divest from coal and fossil fuels. At the time of the announcement, Dayton was the largest university and first U.S. Catholic educational institution to divest from fossil fuels. Daniel J. Curran, president of the University of Dayton, cited the necessity of aligning investments with the university’s values as the reason for divestment, stating “Our Marianist values of leadership and service to humanity call upon us to act on these principles and serve as a catalyst for civil discussion and positive change that benefits our planet.” UD’s Roman Catholic background also made it a fitting host to the 2015 conference titled “Acting on Pope Francis’ Call: Divestment and Investment in Care for Our Common Home”, which brought together a contingent of business leaders, health care professionals, academics and environmental activists.
In 2016 and 2017, specific investments were made in “sustainable” funds that focus on renewable energy investments and in companies that have track records of environmentally sustainable business practices. University of Dayton also houses the Hanley Sustainability Fund (HSF) is a student-managed equity portfolio.
The University of Dayton is a participant or member of the following Initiatives & Commitments:
Other Sustainable Investing Activities and Resources:
University of Dayton Trustee, Georges Hanley speaking at the Intentionally Designed Endowment Forum in Denver, May 2015
Endowment Value: $193.6 million (June 2018)
Pratt Institute is a private college, located in Brooklyn, New York. Pratt Institute has shown strong support for sustainability-related issues at the local and national level, as well as within the art, design, and higher education communities.
Pratt was one of the earliest signatories to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (now known as the Climate Leadership Commitments) in 2007. That same year, the Institute accepted New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s 30/10 Challenge to reduce greenhouse gases by 30 percent by 2017 and has been named one of the country’s most environmentally responsible colleges by The Princeton Review for several consecutive years.
While Pratt does not have an official Committee on Investor Responsibility, it does have a Sub-Committee on Investments which in 2016 recommended and approved to divest from coal equities immediately and other fossil fuels over time.
Pratt Institute is a participant or member of the following Initiatives & Commitments:
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Endowment Value: $52.7 million (June 2018)
Warren Wilson College is a private college located in Swannanoa, North Carolina. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of around 600 students. The Board of Trustees' Investment Committee manages the endowment.
Warren Wilson College’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously in 2015 to divest endowment funds from fossil fuels over the next five years. In a move that aligns the college’s investments with its core values, the endowment will be separated from corporations listed among the Carbon Underground 200, which contains the world’s top coal, oil, and gas companies. The Board further adopted a Responsible Investment Policy that includes environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) considerations and management strategies. In addition, no new endowment funds being invested in fossil fuel companies and currently the College also conducts positive screenings based on ESG parameters. Within two years alone, the College successfully divested 84% of its portfolio.
Warren Wilson College is a participant or member of the following Initiatives & Commitments:
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Endowment Value: $1.29 billion (June 2018)
The University System of Maryland (USM) is Maryland’s public higher education system. USM is made up of 12 institutions and two regional higher education centers. The University System of Maryland Foundation manages USM's endowment.
University System of Maryland (USM) students have been driving change at The USM Foundation for several years. In 2013, students circulated a petition to divest from fossil fuels with nearly 600 signatures from students at Towson University, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and other colleges. In response, in 2014, along with the United Nations, the USM Foundation was a seed investor in the iShares MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target ETF. The ETF tracks the results of the MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target Index and addresses two dimensions of carbon exposure – carbon emissions and fossil fuel reserves. The fund was designed for individuals and institutions interested in environmental sustainability without divestment and provides transparency to the carbon footprint of their investments. On January 29th, 2015 a member of the USM Foundation investment team rang the NYSE's closing bell to officially usher in the new fund’s ticker onto the exchange.
After significant pressure from organized student campaigns across multiple campuses, in June 2016 the USM Foundation stated that it would stop investing directly in coal, oil and natural gas companies.
The University System of Maryland is a participant or member of the following Initiatives & Commitments:
Other Sustainable Investing Practices and News
Endowment Value: $643.8 million (June 2018)
Loyola University Chicago is a Jesuit Catholic University located in Chicago, Illinois. Its endowment is overseen by Loyola’s Investment Office.
In 2007, the Trustees of Loyola’s Office of Finance established the Shareholder Advocacy Committee (SAC) comprising students, faculty, and staff, to engage with companies n concerning their practices and policies, work with similar initiatives to advance sustainability goals, advise the University on shareholder voting, and research and provide information to the university regarding ESG issues.
Following years of conversation regarding divestment, the Loyola University Chicago Senate voted in 2015 to recommend full divestment of direct ownership of fossil fuels within eighteen months and divestment from commingled funds that include fossil fuels within five years. Ultimately, the board of trustees decided to develop a more comprehensive approach to negatively screen investments.
In 2016, Loyola University Chicago amended their Investment Policy to include Responsible and Sustainable Investing Principles. Their policy recognizes the need for them to align their investment practices with their mission and their Jesuit and Catholic traditions. Additionally, the policy states that investment decisions will be made with the consideration of “incorporating environmental, social and governance factors as core components of decision-making and risk management, impact and solutions-based investments, engagement, proxy voting, and evaluation of the economic merits of current and potential investments taking into account governance practices, environmental or social impact, and regulatory and reputational risks.”
Loyola University Chicago is a participant or member of the following Initiatives & Commitments:
Endowment Value: $871.9 million (June 2018)
The University of Massachusetts (UMass) is a public university system in Massachusetts. It has campuses located in Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, and Lowell, as well as a medical school located in Worcester. The University of Massachusetts Foundation manages the entire UMass system’s endowment. The foundation’s mission is to “foster and promote the growth, progress and general welfare of the University of Massachusetts.”
In December 2014, the University of Massachusetts created the Socially Responsible Investing Advisory Committee. The SRIAC receives complaints or concerns raised by the UMass community regarding social injury resulting from the Foundation’s investments, evaluates them, and makes recommendations to the Foundation. By 2015, the Foundation had begun to formally incorporate ESG criteria into its investment analysis. Part of this process of incorporating ESG criteria included launching a Social Choice Fund.
In response to a series of campus developments including a 2015 petition initiated by the student group, the UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, in May 2016 the Board of Directors of the UMass Foundation voted unanimously to divest its endowment from direct holdings in fossil fuels. This accomplishment made UMass the first major public university to divest in fossil fuels.
The University of Massachusetts is a participant or member of the following Initiatives & Commitments:
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Endowment Value: $1.77 billion (June 2018)
Georgetown University is a private college, located in Washington, D.C. Georgetown’s strong Catholic and Jesuit identity mandates that the University has both moral and ethical responsibilities to pursue a mission-driven investment strategy that is consistent with its founding values of social justice, protection of human life and dignity, stewardship for the planet and promotion of the common good. The University’s current socially responsible investing (SRI) policy was approved by the Board in 2017. Georgetown also has a Committee on Investments and Social Responsibility (CISR) that is charged with making recommendations regarding the University’s voting of shareholder proxies and advising the Subcommittee on Investments of the Committee on Finance and Administration.
In 2015 the Board of Directors officially approved the decision to divest from direct investments in companies whose principal business is the mining of coal for use in energy production based on proposals and petitions submitted by Georgetown University Fossil Free, a student group dedicated to pressuring the university to divest from fossil fuels. In 2018 the University also elected to divest from companies whose primary business involves the extraction of tar sands, and industry with not only a detrimental effect on the environment but also the public health of communities living near extraction sites.
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Endowment Value: $424 million GBP (July 2018)
The University of Edinburgh is a public university located in Edinburgh, Scotland and founded in 1582. UE has approximately 33,000 students across its five campuses and has contributed Edinburgh’s nickname ‘Athens of the North’ due to the university’s historical legacy in thought leadership and strong academic research programs including climate change.The University Court oversees the endowment.
Since the publishing of its Social Responsibility and Sustainability Strategy 2010–20, The University of Edinburgh has been at the forefront in sustainable action among European higher education institutions. From this, the University has taken significant steps to align its sustainability goals with its investment strategies. For example, in January of 2013, Edinburgh became the first university in Europe to become a signatory to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment. Since 2010, it has also invested more than £150 million in low carbon technology, climate-related research and businesses that directly benefit the environment.
In 2015, Edinburgh committed to divesting from the most polluting companies involved in coal and tar sands in addition to already in place negative screenings for armament. In February of 2018, the university announced that it will complete its transition out of all fossil fuel investments by 2021, making Edinburgh the largest university endowment in the UK to be free of fossil fuel investment. This action contributes to the University’s overall made in 2016 by the Court to become carbon neutral by 2040.
The University of Edinburgh is a participant or member of the following Initiatives & Commitments:
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Endowment Value: $1.124 billion (June 2018)
Middlebury College is a private liberal arts college in Middlebury, Vermont. The Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees and College Administration oversees the endowment. In 2005, management of Middlebury’s endowment was outsourced to Investure, an investment office specializing in managing endowments and foundations. In 2010, the college established the Sustainable Investments Initiative, a fund dedicated solely to investment vehicles that meet the college’s sustainability guidelines.
The Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investment was founded in 2011 to promote the socially responsible investment of Middlebury’s endowment through making recommendations to the trustees based on voting proxies and shareholder engagement; positive screening and impact investing; and negative screening and divestment.
In 2014, Middlebury’s president Ron Liebowitz announced that $25 million of Middlebury’s endowment would be devoted to impact investing, directed towards “investments focused on sustainability business such as clean energy, water, climate science, and green building projects.” He also announced that $150,000 of the endowment would be placed under the management of the Socially Responsible Investment Club, a student group devoted to socially responsible investing. As of 2016, the student-run SRI Club is working to develop ESG frameworks to be utilized in Middlebury’s endowment investment decisions, as well as pushing for more transparency in Middlebury’s investments.
In January of 2019, Middlebury announced its Energy2028 plan, an ambitious, whole-institution initiative to address climate change. Under this plan, the College’s endowment and sustainable investment policy will be key levers by integrating fossil fuel divestment goals that include a commitment to not invest new dollars into fossil fuels beginning in mid-2019, a phaseout of direct fossil fuel investments over a 15 year spean. Learn more about Middlebury’s Energy2028 plan and its divestment strategy by checking out IEN’s blog.
Middlebury College is a participant or member of the following Initiatives & Commitments:
Other Sustainable Investing Practices: