Tufts University will bar any future direct investments in coal and tar sands companies as part of a plan to increase the university's focus on environmental, social and governance issues, confirmed Patrick Collins, spokesman for the Medford, Mass.-based university.
Under the plan, Tufts has drawn up a list of 120 coal and tar sands companies that it will not invest in. Although the university's $2 billion endowment does not currently have any direct holdings in such companies, the new investment policy will prevent it from acquiring any.
In terms of investments that the university has that it does not directly control, such as commingled funds, Tufts plans to influence the investment managers to divest in such holdings.
The new investment policy will go into effect within six to 12 months. The list of restricted companies will be updated annually.
As part of this broad sustainability plan, Tufts will also invest $10 million to $25 million in positive impact funds related to climate change over the next five years. It will also create a web portal to report on the university's progress on its ESG-related actions.
Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco said in a news release announcing the investment policy change that the university is "taking practical and symbolic steps to advance the cause of sustainability and positive environmental impact."
The sustainability plan was adopted following the recommendations of an advisory group made up of students, faculty and staff that convened in the fall to study the issue of potential divestment.