Stanford University Board of Trustees decided the school will not directly invest endowment funds in about 100 publicly traded companies that extract coal for energy generation, said Brad Hayward, spokesman for the Palo Alto, Calif.-based university.
Acting on a recommendation from the university's Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility and Licensing, the university will not invest in these public companies and will divest any current direct holdings in these companies given the environmentally damaging nature of coal and availability of greener alternatives, Mr. Hayward said.
The divestment will be “undertaken immediately,” Mr. Hayward said.
The university will also recommend its external investment managers avoid investing in these public companies, according to a news release.
Stanford's statement on investment responsibility states that while the main purpose of the endowment is to maximize returns, trustees can decide whether “corporate policies or practices create substantial social injury” as a factor in their investment decisions.
Stanford has a broad portfolio and doesn't anticipate the divestment to impact performance overall, Mr. Hayward said. It is unclear how much of Stanford's $18.7 billion endowment is currently invested in coal mining companies because the university does not provide information on specific investments, Mr. Hayward said.