Creighton University, Omaha, Neb., will divest from fossil fuels over the next decade.
The move for the university's endowment, which had $566 million in assets as of June 30, comes after its board of trustees approved a modified investment policy in September, according to a news release posted Monday. That modified policy also includes withdrawing from ownership of public securities of fossil-fuel companies within the next five years and seeking investments that target a market rate of return in renewable energy and energy efficiency, the university said.
In February, the board's investment subcommittee approved transactions that reduced Creighton's investment exposure to fossil-fuel companies to 5.7% of its portfolio, down from 8.9% as of June 30, 2019. By June 30, 2020, Creighton's investment in fossil-fuel companies was further reduced to 3.9%, the university said.
"This modified policy signifies our strong commitment to sustainable investing — and sustainability in general across the university — and, according to our investment advisers, it can be accomplished without a negative impact on the strength and overall performance of our endowment, which greatly serves the mission of the institution," said the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, Creighton president, in the news release.
The university said it will continue to vote shareholder proxies in favor of carbon-reduction resolutions and will pursue opportunities to partner with organizations that engage corporations on environmental issues, such as the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and the Jesuit Committee on Investment Responsibility.
"This modified policy accords with Creighton's Jesuit, Catholic mission, and the strategic management of Creighton's investment funds, which are so important for the university's operations, academic programming, student scholarships and more," said Michael R. McCarthy, chairman of the board, in the news release.