March 15, 2018 Business Officer Magazine | David Ellis, CFO Becker College
Matching Investments to Mission
“It can be difficult to make sweeping changes to institution investment policy quickly. And yet, in the space of less than two years from idea to implementation, the investment committee and full board of Becker College, Worcester, Mass., have incorporated an “all in,” 100 percent, social impact goal of measurable criteria for sustainable, responsible, impactful (SRI) investing for our college endowment—what we call “impactful investing.”
Indeed, more college and university endowments are adopting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria as part of their investment strategy. And, a growing number of institutions are likewise divesting from coal, oil, and gas investments as part of the fossil fuel–free movement—precipitated in large part by students petitioning trustees to invest in more environmentally and socially conscious ways.
But while hundreds of billions of dollars are currently invested by U.S. higher education endowments, very few boards of trustees to date have sought to fully align their endowments with their institution mission. To our knowledge, Becker College is the first to specify that 100 percent of its investments should produce measurable positive “social impact”—to include metrics on health, income equality, environment, diversity, and transparency.”
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