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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 74.63
Liaison Moira Hafer
Submission Date July 30, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Stanford University
PA-14: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.33 / 4.00 Moira Hafer
Sustainability Specialist
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total value of the investment pool:
18,700,000,000 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) 0 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:

The university has allocated $30 million for major capital improvements to the most energy-intensive buildings on campus through the Whole Building Energy Retrofit Program (WBERP). The first overhaul, of the Stauffer Chemistry Building, was finished in June 2007 and resulted in a 35 percent drop in electricity use, a 43 percent cut in steam use and 62 percent fall in chilled water use. It also reduced carbon dioxide emissions associated with the building by 762 metric tons per year and cut energy costs by 46 percent in the first 12 months. Retrofits on the dozen most energy-intensive buildings are scheduled for completion by 2014. Altogether, the improvements are expected to save $4.2 million annually and reduce total energy use in these buildings by 28 percent. More information can be found online at:
http://sustainablestanford.stanford.edu/investing_in_sustainability


Does the institution have a publicly available sustainable investment policy?:
Yes

A copy of the sustainable investment policy:
---

The sustainable investment policy:

The sustainable investment policy can be found at http://apir.stanford.edu/stanford_statement.


Does the institution use its sustainable investment policy to select and guide investment managers?:
Yes

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

The university, operating through the APIRL and the SCIR, has developed and applied certain Investment Responsibility Core Social Issue Policy Statements and Proxy Voting Guidelines which address many current Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) issues. Where it has decided upon such a guideline, the University’s Statement on Investment Responsibility directs that the University will “normally vote according to existing University Investment Responsibility Proxy Voting Guidelines.” For example, Stanford has been active since 1998 in implementing a climate change guideline that states the following, “Stanford votes ‘Yes’ on resolutions that companies analyze levels of greenhouse gas emissions, develop action plans to reduce them, report on significant company actions to remediate, reduce and/or eliminate them, and continually assess and report on material impacts caused by company action and/or inaction with respect to greenhouse gas emissions.”

Stanford has also adopted policies which preclude owning securities in specific companies with operations in apartheid South Africa and Sudan, as well as companies in the tobacco industry. In each case the action was based on fiduciary obligations and clear ethical principles which were widely held across the entire Stanford community.

In May 2014, as a result of the APIRL process, Stanford announced that it would divest of direct holdings in publicly traded companies whose principal business is the mining of coal for use in energy generation; would avoid such direct holdings in the future; and would recommend that its external investment managers similarly divest of such holdings.


Does the institution's sustainable investment policy include negative screens?:
---

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

Coal - Acting on a recommendation of Stanford's Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility and Licensing, the Board of Trustees announced on May 6, 2014 that Stanford will not make direct investments in coal extraction companies.

Tobacco – During the 1990s, the APIRL focused on the issue of health risks and illegal sales and marketing of tobacco products to minors. Stanford implemented many proxy voting guidelines and engaged corporations in an effort to end injuries caused by company products. In 1998, Stanford ended investment in core tobacco companies.

Human Rights – For more than four decades, the University has continued to address allegations of human rights abuses and the part corporations played by direct or indirect action or inaction, including Apartheid South Africa and Sudan. APIRL continues to develop, recommend, and apply Stanford core social issue policies and proxy voting guidelines, policies to remedy confirmed allegations of “substantial social injury.”


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

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:
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:

Stanford University recently announced that it will not make direct investments of endowment funds in publicly traded companies whose principal business is the mining of coal for use in energy generation.

In taking the action, the trustees endorsed the recommendation of the university's Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility and Licensing (APIRL). This panel, which includes representatives of students, faculty, staff and alumni, conducted an extensive review over the last several months of the social and environmental implications of investment in fossil fuel companies.

The resolution means that Stanford will not directly invest in directly held publicly traded companies for which coal extraction is the primary business, and will divest of any current direct holdings in such companies. Stanford also will recommend to its external investment managers, who invest in wide ranges of securities on behalf of the university, that they avoid investments in these public companies as well.


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

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

Stanford participates in the College and University Consortium on Investor Responsibility and CERES.


The website URL where information about the institution's sustainable investment efforts is available:

Please note that Stanford's sustainable investment policy does include negative screens, such as coal, tobacco, and human rights as described below. However, Stanford does not report the percentage of its endowment that the negative screens apply to, and since it is unable to answer "Yes" without entering this number, Stanford has been forced to answer "Unknown." Please see the accompanying description for examples of the negative screens that Stanford does employ.

The link to Stanford Management Company's annual report:

http://www.smc.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/SMC%202013%20Annual%20Nov%2018_Final.pdf

The link to an article describing Stanford's decision to divest from coal companies on May 6, 2014:
http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/may/divest-coal-trustees-050714.html

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.