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Harvard Commits to UN-supported Responsible Investment Principles

Harvard University. © Wikimedia CommonsBostonHarvard University announced its decision to sign on to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) on April 7, becoming the first university endowment in the United States to join the organization.

The PRI is recognized as the leading global network for investors who are committed to integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into their investment practices and ownership policies. Harvard Management Company (HMC) will implement the principles in its management of the University’s endowment and related financial assets.

“As long-term investors, we are by nature focused on material ESG factors and the responsible stewardship of our investments,” said Jane Mendillo, President and Chief Executive Officer of HMC. “After careful review of the PRI, we decided that implementing the principles put forth by this pioneering organization is a natural step for us in the evolution of our sustainable investment practices. At the same time, it is consistent with our paramount focus on maximizing returns to support the mission of Harvard University.”

The decision to join the PRI follows a year-long review process and Harvard President Drew Faust’s commitment, expressed in a letter to the Harvard community in October 2013, to strengthen Harvard’s approach to sustainable investment. This commitment was endorsed last month by the University’s Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility, the committee that addresses questions about investment policy at Harvard.

The PRI’s network of international investors work together to implement a set of voluntary principles that provide a framework for integrating ESG factors into investment analysis and ownership practices aligned with investors’ fiduciary duties.

“Harvard University is the first U.S. endowment to publicly commit to investing its funds in a more responsible and sustainable manner using the PRI’s voluntary framework, and we are thrilled to welcome them to the organization,” said Fiona Reynolds, Managing Director of the PRI. “Sustainable investment is one of the world’s fastest-growing investment trends, and Harvard’s leadership provides a model for other U.S. universities.”

In addition to subscribing to the PRI’s principles, HMC also announced that it will become a signatory to the Carbon Disclosure Project’s (CDP) climate change program. The CDP is an international non-profit organization that works with governments, public companies and over 700 investors to drive environmental disclosure and performance of publicly listed companies.

Harvard will review and assess involvement in both organizations from time to time.

 

Source: By Alvin Powell, Staff Writer, Harvard.

 

About Harvard Management Company

Harvard Management Company is a subsidiary of Harvard University. Founded in 1974, HMC provides professional investment management of the University’s $32 billion endowment and related financial assets, using a unique hybrid structure integrating internal and external management. HMC’s strong investment results over four decades have enabled the world-class teaching, ground-breaking research and extensive financial aid programs of Harvard University.

 

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