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Yale approves environmentally conscious investment guidance

University declines to recommend fossil-fuel stock divestment

Yale University’s Harkness Hall

Yale University's Corporation Committee on Investor Responsibility on Thursday approved new environmentally conscious guidance for the campus-based Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility when investing on behalf of the New Haven, Conn.-based university's $20.8 billion endowment, said university spokesman Tom Conroy.

The CCIR, however, decided against recommending divestment of fossil-fuel companies' stocks.

A statement issued by Yale University President Peter Salovey explains that the CCIR's new guidance instructs the university to support reasonable shareholder resolutions “seeking disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions, the impact of climate change on a company's business activities and products, and strategies designed to reduce the company's long-term impact on the global climate including through the support of sound and effective governmental policies.”

During the coming year, the ACIR will implement this guidance in voting proxies on shareholder resolutions.

In addition, Yale's chief investment officer, David Swensen, is writing to Yale's external investment managers to tell them they should consider the effects of climate change in the businesses in which they invest.

Ultimately, the CCIR declined to recommend that Yale divest stocks of fossil-fuel companies.

“After much deliberation, the CCIR did not recommend divestment of Yale's investments in fossil-fuel companies,” said Mr. Salovey in the statement, citing reasons given in a report issued by the CCIR.

The CCIR's report argues that divestment is “neither the right means of addressing” climate change nor an effective one. Instead, the committee argues that “Yale will have its greatest impact in meeting the climate challenge through its core mission: research, scholarship and education.”