Divestment Campaign Leads to $50 M Green Investment at Middlebury

 

There is movement around responsible investment at Middlebury College. In direct response to pressure from students calling on the university to divest it's endowment of the 200 largest fossil fuel companies, Middlebury is making significant investments in ESG funds.

In an email this Monday April 7th, President Ron Liebowitz wrote, “[The College] recently increased by a significant factor the amount of its endowment specifically directed towards investments that generate long-term social, environmental, and economic value. This includes investments focused on sustainable businesses such as clean energy, water, climate science, and green building projects. The value of these specifically directed investments is $25 million as of February 28, 2014.” Patrick Norton, the VP of Finance at Middlebury, stated that this number will rise to $50 million within five years.

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As Day 3 of Wash U Student Sit-In Begins, Students Against Peabody is Growing

Written by Julia Ho, student at Washington University

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Student support doubles overnight

As Day Three of the Washington University student sit-in to cut ties with Peabody Energy began this morning, the campaign is growing. Over 40 students slept in tents under the Brookings Archway last night, doubling the number from the previous night. Over the past 48 hours, students have mobilized hundreds of people for the campaign locally and reached thousands of supporters nationally via intense social media outreach. And the attention is not just coming from students--faculty and staff, alumni, community members, national organizations, and even prospective students are starting to take notice as well.

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Why We're Sitting in at WashU (and We're Not Leaving)

Written by Caroline Burney, senior at Washington University

I’ve learned many things in my four years at Washington University in St. Louis--not all of them in the classroom. For example, before I became a student at Wash U, I had never heard of Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector coal corporation.  

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Students call on Wash. U. to cut ties with Peabody Energy

This article is cross-posted from Washington University in St Louis's student paper Student Life. It originally appeared on April 1, 2014 as an Op-Ed, written by Rachel Goldstein, David Binstock, Madeleine Balchan, Jamal Sadrud-Din.

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Fossil Free Reed students present to Board of Trustees

At Reed College on a fateful day in February during a freakishly snowy storm uncharacteristic of Portland, Oregon, a small group of dedicated students presented for the first time to the Board of Trustees on the topic of responsible investments, and specifically of divesting the school's $500 million endowment for fossil fuel industry. The students presented their moral and economic arguments for working towards reducing ways in which the College profits from the ecological destruction of a human-habitable planet. A twenty-minute round-table discussion among the Board members and the students followed. 

And it went well

The Board was not just willing to entertain the idea, but started the meeting by saying that they had already decided to review the concrete details of what divesting Reed's endowment would look like. In a follow-up email, the Chairman of the Board, Roger Perlmutter wrote: "I am encouraged to see such passion for the issue of climate change. You should know that the overwhelming scientific evidence for a substantial human contribution to global warming is fully accepted by me and by the entire board." The Board will submit a public letter to the school and the community in regards to their opinions and future actions in the future. We hope it is the near future. 

The students are meeting again in April with the Board to encourage swift action and keep the pressure on, in part because the Board's commitment to "look into divesting" does not necessarily translate to real action. 

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Prescott College Commits to Divest

   Prescott Divests!

The Prescott College Board of Trustees has approved a landmark Fossil Fuel Divestment Resolution, making a commitment to shift endowment investments from the 200 largest fossil fuel corporations to clean, green energy companies and other socially responsible investments aligned with institutional values.  The college is proud to stand behind this resolution as a part of a long-standing commitment to environmental responsibility and social justice.

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Leaders in Mission Related Investing in Philanthropy

'Responsive Philanthropy' Features Mission Investing

posted on: Tuesday, February 04, 2014

by Yna C. Moore, National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy

I'm very excited about the just-released special winter issue of Responsive Philanthropy, NCRP's quarterly journal. It focuses mission investing, a topic that's been getting more and more attention in philanthropy, with articles that tackles myths, shares examples of foundation engagement, additional resources and more.

Check out these articles:

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How Student Activists at Duke Transformed a $6 Billion Endowment

Check out this awesome article from Casey WilliamsCharlie MolthropJacob Tobia on Student Nation.

Last October 4, a group of students clutching more than 2,000 petitions knocked on the door of the Duke University Board of Trustees meeting and requested an audience. Burly security guards barred the door on the order of vexed University President Richard Brodhead. Brodhead, visibly nervous, tried to usher the students out, calling their presence an “interruption.” Undeterred, the group resisted, asking for a chance to present the proposal they had spent almost a year crafting. The president, adamant in his refusal, returned to the meeting and shut the door.

Despite the hostile reception, a modified version of the students’ proposal—which called for the overhaul of the university’s guidelines on investment responsibility—had already found its way onto the board’s agenda. On October 4, 2013, the trustees voted to adopt the new guidelines, expanding the university’s investment oversight committee and establishing a special fund within the endowment—a Social Choice Fund—which will be invested only in prescreened, socially responsible funds.

Read the full article at The Nation.

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Companies, Trade Groups, and Climate Change: Why We Need an SEC Rule on Corporate Political Disclosure

This blog post is cross posted from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

 Today marks the 4th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. But the decision–which opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate political spending–isn’t just of interest to political and legal scholars. If you care about science-based policy, you also have a dog in this fight.

Following Citizens United, we saw a drastic increase in political activity of dark money groups, which don't have to disclose their funders. But the SEC can address this by enacting a rule on corporate political disclosure. Photo: Dan Macy

Following Citizens United, we saw a drastic increase in political activity of dark money groups, which don’t have to disclose their funders. But the SEC can address this by enacting a rule on corporate political disclosure. Photo: Dan Macy

If you’ve been following climate action (and inaction), you’ll know the familiar actors known to spread misinformation about climate science and block progress on policy initiatives to address climate change.The Exxon Mobils and the Koch Brothers of the world are now household names. But in recent years, another set of players have come onto the field in a bigger way. Not corporations and billionaires butdark money groups, including trade and business associations and think tanks. Dark money groups are so called because their funding sources are unknown. Such groups have tax-exempt nonprofit status and thus, are not legally required to disclose their donors. This allows companies and individuals to fund climate-policy-blocking groups without the actions being affiliated with their name. 

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New ALEC Documents Show Why the SEC Needs to Require Corporate Political Spending Disclosure

New revelations about the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) illustrate the need for greater transparency by corporations for their political and lobbying spending. The internal documents released by The Guardian show that ALEC has targeted dozens of large corporations for fundraising in 2013, including what ALEC calls “prodigal son” corporations that had previously dropped their membership because of the organization’s controversial positions.

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