The university’s board of directors voted today to cease direct investment in coal companies, affirming the recommendation of the board’s working group.
“An insubstantial portion of the university’s endowment is now directly invested in companies whose principal business is the mining of coal for use in energy production,” the resolution reads. “Going forward, the university will not make or continue any direct investments of endowment funds in any such company.”
The resolution also states that the university will urge its external investment managers — large portfolios, like university endowments, are typically invested in hedge funds and private equity firms — to avoid investments in coal companies.
The board will select a committee, under the supervision of its executive committee, to examine the broader question of investments and social responsibility. The resolution also pledged to continue and strengthen the academic study of energy and the environment, as well as reduce its environmental footprint.
The original GU Fossil Free proposal called for total divestment from the top-200 fossil fuel companies. In January, CISR voted against GU Fossil Free’s proposal, calling instead for partial, targeted divestment, focusing on 100 companies with the largest detrimental environmental impact from coal mining operations.
In a statement, GU Fossil Free expressed dismay at the board’s decision.
“We thank the board for helping us begin this process of examining the consequences of our investments, and for the tiny step of divesting from direct coal investments, but they did not make the right decision: Georgetown University has decided to continue immoral investments, actively undermining its Jesuit values and global reputation as a moral leader,” read the statement, signed by members of GU Fossil Free.
Full story to come on thehoya.com.
The university’s advertisement of the decision on its Facebook page was met with a mixed reception, with members of GU Fossil Free expressing their dissatisfaction:
Environmentalist Bill Mckibben, who spoke at Gaston Hall in March:
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) June 4, 2015
English professor Nathan Hensley, who coordinated the faculty petition:
— Nathan K. Hensley (@nathankhensley) June 4, 2015
— Fossil Free (@GoFossilFree) June 4, 2015
.@GUFossilFree has made the first crack in the seemingly impenetrable wall between investments and climate justice in the nation's capital.
— Fossil Free GW (@FossilFreeGW) June 4, 2015
— Divest Harvard 🔶 (@DivestHarvard) June 4, 2015