Harvard University wants its endowment to be decarbonized within 30 years.
In a letter addressed to members of the Cambridge, Mass.-based university's faculty of arts and sciences on Tuesday, Harvard President Lawrence Bacow wrote that Harvard Corp., the university's governing body, has directed Harvard Management Co., the Boston-based company that manages the $40.9 billion endowment, to develop a strategy for the endowment's portfolio to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
"We believe that this approach, which considers the investment portfolio as a whole, rather than simply targeting the suppliers and producers of fossil fuels, is the right one for the University to pursue," Mr. Bacow added.
Mr. Bacow is aware that achieving this goal won't be easy, as it "will require developing sophisticated new methods for measuring emissions associated with the investment portfolio and then for systematically reducing them across the full breadth of the portfolio."
The decision was made by Harvard Corp. after university faculty voted in February to call on the managers of the endowment to divest from fossil-fuel companies. Harvard Corp. is a separate entity from Harvard Management Co.