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News & Events for the Smith College Community
News of Note September 9, 2014

Trustees Approve $1 Million in Sustainable Investment Fund

College Hall front drive
As part of ongoing efforts to address the critical issue of climate change, the board of trustees has announced the investment of $1 million of the endowment in a sustainable global equities fund.

In a September 8 email to the college community, President McCartney said the board’s decision was the result of an ongoing “series of campus conversations in relation to the worldwide campaign to divest campuses, communities and institutions from fossil fuels.”

The investment, which the board approved unanimously in June, will be managed by Investure, the firm that oversees the Smith College endowment.

The trustees’ decision means that nearly 9 percent of the college’s $1.77-billion endowment portfolio, or $150 million, is now invested with managers whose decisions are guided by environmental, social or governance (ESG) factors.

Last spring, student representatives from Divest Smith College met with a group of trustees to ask that the board consider a sustainable investment fund. Over the course of the 2013-14 academic year, students, faculty and staff also held discussions about the potential benefits and tradeoffs of the college’s investment in fossil fuels.

“The challenges of global climate change are urgent and complex,” McCartney said in her September 8 email to the community, which was also signed by Board of Trustees Chair Elizabeth Eveillard ’69.

“As an educational institution, one of the most significant environmental impacts Smith can have is as an innovator, leading-edge mover and disseminator of knowledge,” McCartney said.

Among the other strategies the college has launched to help reduce its impact on the environment:

  • A year-round co-generation plant that has significantly increased energy efficiency on campus and reduced by 70 percent the college’s need to purchase electricity from the grid;
  • A significant increase in the use of solar panels, from 30 to 1,530, over the past five years;
  • More locally produced food. Smith’s Dining Services department now obtains 22 percent of its food—including produce, fish and meat—from local sustainable family farms and other producers.