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Harvard adopts U.N.-backed ESG investment practices

Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., agreed to adopt a set of socially and environmentally responsible investing practices supported by the United Nations, said university spokesman Kevin Galvin.

Harvard Management Co., which oversees the university’s $32 billion endowment, joined Principles for Responsible Investment, a global network for investors committed to integrating environmental, social and governance considerations into their investment practices and ownership policies.

“The PRI framework involves integrating material environmental factors, such as energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and resource scarcity, and social issues such as health and safety and employee productivity into investment analysis,” according to a university statement.

“Implementing the principles put forth by this organization is a natural step for us in the evolution of our sustainable investment practices,” said Jane Mendillo, president and CEO of HMC, in a news release. She added that joining PRI “is consistent with our focus on maximizing returns.”

HMC will also become a signatory to the Carbon Disclosure Project’s climate-change program. The CDP is an international non-profit organization that works to drive environmental disclosure and performance of publicly listed companies.