The Smith College Board of Trustees, at its October 21, 2017, meeting, adopted the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility’s four strategic recommendations regarding climate change and the Smith endowment.
Increase Impact Investing
First, and most significantly, Smith will increase its impact investments—those intended to generate measurable social and environmental change alongside a financial return—from $9.5 million to $30 million, over time. Examples of such investments might be industries and funds focused on sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, energy efficiency, conservation, affordable and accessible services and sustainable manufacturing processes. This enhanced commitment to impact investing aligns with values of innovation and social change at the center of the Smith experience.
Favor Managers and Funds Adhering to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Principles
The board voted to continue to increase the number of funds and fund managers in the endowment who have adopted ESG principles. This decision reflects the recognition that this type of investing can support the college’s broader commitments to environmental sustainability and social equity while still generating appropriate financial return.
Avoid future direct holdings in coal
Recognizing that coal is the most environmentally harmful fossil fuel, the board voted to avoid any future direct investments in coal.
Report regularly on socially responsible investment progress
The Investment Committee of the board will work to provide regular, transparent reports to the Smith community on such metrics as fossil fuel exposure, ESG adoption and impact investments.