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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.88
Liaison Mary Easterling
Submission Date Sept. 14, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Pennsylvania State University
PA-9: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.84 / 4.00 Mary Easterling
Assoc Director, Analysis & Assessment
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution wish to pursue Option 1 (positive sustainability investment)?:
Yes

Total value of the investment pool:
3,201,664,330.75 US/Canadian $

Value of holdings in each of the following categories:
Value of Holdings
Sustainable industries (e.g. renewable energy or sustainable forestry) 0 US/Canadian $
Businesses selected for exemplary sustainability performance (e.g. using criteria specified in a sustainable investment policy) 85,000,000 US/Canadian $
Sustainability investment funds (e.g. a renewable energy or impact investment fund) 0 US/Canadian $
Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) or the equivalent 0 US/Canadian $
Socially responsible mutual funds with positive screens (or the equivalent) 0 US/Canadian $
Green revolving loan funds that are funded from the endowment ---

A brief description of the companies, funds, and/or institutions referenced above:

Partly in response to student advocacy, Penn State conducted a study to evaluate investment managers who are "environmental, social and governance" (ESG) focused as compared to non-ESG peers. This study led Penn State to hire a management firm which invests in companies that possess, among other attributes, positive environmental attributes with the potential to drive financial performance and stock valuation. About $85M of the investment pool is subject to this investment strategy.


Percentage of the institution's investment pool in positive sustainability investments:
2.65

Does the institution wish to pursue Option 2 (investor engagement)?:
Yes

Does the institution have a publicly available sustainable investment policy?:
No

A copy of the sustainable investment policy:
---

The sustainable investment policy:
---

Does the institution use its sustainable investment policy to select and guide investment managers?:
No

A brief description of how the policy is applied, including recent examples:
---

Has the institution engaged in proxy voting, either by its CIR or other committee or through the use of guidelines, to promote sustainability during the previous three years?:
Yes

A copy of the proxy voting guidelines or proxy record:
---

A brief description of how managers are adhering to proxy voting guidelines:

Penn State authorizes its investment managers to vote on its behalf. Therefore the managers who are focused on ESG investments (described above) are engaged in proxy voting on behalf of Penn State in a way that supports their environmental, social and governance goals.


Has the institution filed or co-filed one or more shareholder resolutions that address sustainability or submitted one or more letters about social or environmental responsibility to a company in which it holds investments during the previous three years?:
No

Examples of how the institution has engaged with corporations in its portfolio about sustainability issues during the previous three years:
---

Does the institution have a publicly available investment policy with negative screens?:
No

A brief description of the negative screens and how they have been implemented:
---

Approximate percentage of the endowment that the negative screens apply to:
---

Does the institution engage in policy advocacy by participating in investor networks and/or engage in inter-organizational collaborations to share best practices?:
Yes

A brief description of the investor networks and/or collaborations:

In December 2015 the Office of Investment Management at Penn State conducted a survey of the Big Ten & Peer Group institutions, which looked at student involvement and social investing. The survey was an attempt to gauge the impact of social investing pressures, and to outline the collective challenges and successes in the endowment management environment.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
---

Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.