Endowment Value: $2.623 billion (Sept. 2019)
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 oversee the endowment.
At Williams College, the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (ACSR) is a non-standing committee composed of faculty, students, and alumni that advises the Investment Committee of the BoT on matters relating to ESG investing. The ACSR recognizes the importance of combining strong financial performance with social and environmental commitment.
In 2015, the Investment Committee published "A Proposal for Divestment" and presented the proposal to the Board of Trustees. Although the President and Board rejected the proposal, it was decided that Williams would make significant investments in clean energy projects, practices, and companies.
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 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, Williams College created a fossil fuel-free investment fund as well as a low-carbon fund within the College’s employee retirement plan.
In June 2020, Williams College partnered with Smith College, Amherst College, and Hampshire College to create the Community Climate Fund, a portfolio of local projects that aim to reduce carbon emissions. Williams provided $100,000 to the fund for initial investments.
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:
- Williams Pilots Innovative Investment in Local Carbon Reduction Projects (June 2020)
- Williams Sustainability
- Williams Develops Socially Responsible Option for Capital Donors
- Williams College Steps In To Power Town Solar Project (July 2016)
- Statement by the Board of Trustees and President Adam F. Falk on the College’s Role in Addressing Climate Change (2015)