Harvard Management Company (HMC), the finance arm of the prestigious American university of the same name, has created a sustainable investment position to help secure the long-term future of its $30.7 billion (£19.8 billion) assets.
The vice president of sustainable investing will research sustainability and work with other universities in order to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into Harvard’s finances.
“Given the growing conversation around sustainability and related issues on campus and across the financial sector, we wanted to develop a more integrated approach to these issues at HMC”, president and CEO Jane L Mendillo told The Harvard Crimson.
“We are long-term investors and that means we are concerned with sustainability and stewardship. This new position will strengthen this longstanding focus at HMC.”
The move comes less than a fortnight after a Harvard spokesperson said it “operates with a strong presumption against divestment”, following student protests that urged the university to divest from fossil fuel companies. A poll from November last year found that 72% of Harvard students were in favour of such an action.
Last month, 10,000 people signed an online petition to urge a Canadian magazine to include an ethical investment ranking in its annual university guide, in the hope that institutions will reconsider some of their investments – proving that public support for sustainable finance within education is strong.