For information on
Yale's divestment from companies actively producing oil and gas in Sudan and
the 2013 policy update, click here.
Following the Yale College student referendum on fossil fuel divestment, the ACIR posted this open letter to the community on December 9, 2013:
We, the members of Yale’s Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility (ACIR) would like to thank the Yale College Council for its recent undergraduate referendum on which students in Yale College cast votes on whether Yale should divest from major oil, gas and coal companies. More than half of the 5300 college students in the College voted, and 83 percent of those voting favored divestment. We understand that the College Council will present a position paper to the Yale administration supporting divestment.
We certainly will take the College’s vote into account as we continue our work on the important subject of Yale’s investment in companies whose activities contribute to climate change. Our responsibility is to advise the Yale Corporation, specifically the Corporation Committee on Investor Responsibility (CCIR) in order to assist the Corporation in carrying out its fiduciary responsibilities to the University community. The Yale Corporation (Corporation) is the governing board and policy-making body for Yale University. The Corporation has significant duties and responsibilities, including the responsibility to oversee the Yale Investments Office, which manages Yale’s endowment. The Corporation takes the interests of all of Yale’s constituents, including undergraduate and graduate students, staff, alumni, faculty, as well as future members of the community into account. The interests of the local community and the global community in which Yale exists also matter.
Under basic principles of corporate and university governance, the ACIR, in order to advise the Yale Corporation effectively, must act independently when formulating its recommendations to the CCIR. As a next step, we are considering recommending to the CCIR that we write to energy companies whose shares are publicly traded to ask that they voluntarily disclose their environmental impact so that investors can compare among investments on the basis of their environmental impact. In order to make this recommendation, however, we are in the process of developing a common metric or set of metrics that would allow the environmental impact of energy companies’ activities to be measured and compared. Consistent with longstanding policy of the ACIR, engagement with companies would necessarily precede any recommendation regarding divestment.
We will continue to work on ethical investment issues in general and on the fossil fuels issue in particular. In January, 2014 we will hold an open meeting to which all members of the Yale community will be invited. We hope that as many people as possible will attend this meeting and share their thoughts and ideas with us.
Jonathan Macey (chair)