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Endowments and Foundations

Yale allows managers to divest from socially irresponsible companies

The endowment will also divest retailers that sell assault weapons

Yale University has announced that managers of its $29.4 billion endowment may divest from companies that it considers socially irresponsible and will divest from retailers of assault weapons, confirmed university spokesman Tom Conroy in an email.

The New Haven, Conn.-based university posted on its website its investment policies regarding socially responsible investing for its endowment. For example, Yale's endowment "has asked managers not to hold companies that refuse to acknowledge the social and financial costs of climate change and that fail to take economically sensible steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

In addition, Yale will not invest in any retail outlets that market and sell assault weapons to the public.

However, the school's advisory committee on investor responsibility concluded that divestment from private prisons "is not warranted," according to the website. Instead, the committee recommended that if Yale were to have holdings in private prison companies, the university "should support appropriate, reasonable and well-constructed shareholder resolutions" related to improving the operations of private prisons.

Also, Yale revealed that the committee concluded at the start of this year that divesting from Puerto Rican debt is also not warranted if "an investor is abiding by the applicable legal framework" though a process whereby "the debtor's interests are appropriately represented."