RESPONSIBLE ENDOWMENTS COALITION www.endowmentethics.org


Thanks to Dan for 5 Years of Leadership!

Dan at REC's 10th Anniversary
As we welcome our talented new Executive Director, Marcie Smith, to the Responsible Endowments Coalition this month, we are also sending off an extraordinary colleague. On behalf of the board, I want to recognize Dan Apfel and express our deep gratitude for his leadership and many accomplishments as REC’s Executive Director.

For five years, Dan has helped bring together students and campus communities to harness the power of institutional endowments to support sustainability and social justice.

Under Dan’s leadership, the Responsible Endowments Coalition, working with our partners, has made substantial headway. We have worked with students to build a network that can respond to urgent issues like land grabs in Africa and the Koch Brothers trying to buy the LA Times. We have had major shareholder victories at JPMorgan Chase and Sallie Mae. And we have supported and incubated - with training, organizing, and expertise - the growth of the fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment movement on campus, which has spread to over 400 U.S. campuses.

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Introducing Marcie Smith, REC's New Executive Director

Marcie SmithIt is with great pleasure that we write you to announce the Responsible Endowments Coalition’s selection of our next executive director, Marcie Smith. Marcie joins our team with a thorough understanding of the systemic challenges REC has spent the past decade working to address -- economic inequality, climate change, and corporate power. She has the skills, tenacity, and spirit necessary to lead our organization into its next chapter. We could not be more excited. Our board spent several rewarding months preparing for this transition, with help from many of you. We were impressed by the talented, smart, and driven people who engaged with us throughout the process -- and we thank you all immensely.

Marcie has been organizing at the intersection of climate change, economic justice, and women's rights for the past eight years. As founder and chair of the Full Circles Foundation, Marcie helped develop a holistic political education program for girls in the Southeastern U.S. which illuminates the connections between personal, community, and ecological health. Prior to Full Circles Foundation, Marcie served as Co-Chair of SustainUS, where she helped build international youth power within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

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BCD Responds to ACSRI’s Refusal of Support

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(Reposted from BWOG: http://bwog.com/2014/05/16/bcds-response-to-acsris-refusal-of-support/)

The Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing (ACSRI) said two days ago that the proposal of Barnard Columbia Divest (BCD) for divestment from fossil fuels “did not meet the criteria for divestment.” According to their response (which can be read in full here), ACSRI will not recommend BCD’s divestment proposal because “the merits of the case are not clearly on one side, nor are [they] sure that Columbia’s divestment would send a signal more powerful than engagement [with fossil fuel companies]. Below is the response of BCD to the ACSRI’s decision:

“We cannot ban the burning of fossil fuels overnight. Triggering the change will likely take changes in government policy, in private investment priorities, and the civic engagement of a globalized society,” wrote the Advisory Committee for Socially Responsible Investing (ACSRI) as they declined to trigger the change by being leaders in a national movement to divest university endowments from the fossil fuel industry.

The flawed and self-contradictory document that the ACSRI published on Wednesday is reflective of the nature of the committee itself and its treatment of the fossil fuel divestment proposal that Barnard Columbia Divest for Climate Justice (BCD) first brought to them in November 2013. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of individual members, the structure of the ACSRI prevents it from responding with the urgency this situation requires.

 

I. The clock is ticking

International climate agreements designate 2ºC as the ‘safe’ upper threshold of warming the world would be able to withstand. Fossil fuel companies have and plan to burn five times as much carbon as would get us to the limit, for the purpose of continuing to be the most profitable industry in history. The next major climate summit is happening in Paris in December 2015, but the UN process has yet to be successful in lowering global GHG emissions. A large section of the West Antarctic ice sheet collapsed this week. According to the International Energy Agency, we will spend our ‘carbon budget’ within sixteen years. Time is running out.

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Stanford Commits to Coal Divestment

Fossil Free Stanford Statement On 
Coal Divestment 
May 6, 2014 

Press Contact: 
Michael Peñuelas (fossilfreestanford@gmail.com, 206.218.4345)

Yari Greaney (fossilfreestanford@gmail.com, 530.646.9118) 

Faculty can also be contacted through Michael or Yari     
Originally posted here: http://www.fossilfreestanford.org/official-statement-on-coal-divestment.html 
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Today, the climate movement won a groundbreaking victory. In a striking acknowledgement of the need for a bold and immediate response to climate change, Stanford University is divesting from the coal industry.

The Stanford endowment, valued at $18.7 billion, will now become the largest in a growing group of funds to partially divest from fossil fuels.
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Dramatic Unveiling Produces Meeting with President at NYU

A group of students, faculty, and staff have been requesting a meeting with New York University President John Sexton for over a year. What finally made him give in? 1500 petition signatures and 300 feet of paper.

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Big Victory for Pitzer!

 After a year and a half of campaigning, Pitzer students have won the most comprehensive divestment plan yetAmong many other initiatives, Pitzer has now pledged to:

  • Divest their endowment from fossil fuels by the end of this year

  • Incorporate environmental and social governance factors into their investment decisions

  • Start a Pitzer Sustainability Fund to reinvest in environmental and community projects

  • Target a 25% reduction in the college's carbon footprint by the end of 2016

  • Create a Campus Sustainability Taskforce

You can find the full plan here.

Claremont Colleges Call for Fossil Fuel Divestment

 

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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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