STARS Investment Guide

Are you a STARS school?


REC just released a companion guide to the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) sustainable investment section. REC is a partner on the rating system and wants to ensure that all universities understand how to answer the questions and learn from the process. This guide is available in the “Additional Resources” Section of the STARS Reporting Tool website as well as in the Handbooks section of the REC website. In addition to the guide there is a Worksheet tool that helps schools arrive at the answers needed for the survey. The list of STARS institutions is available here.

According to the STARS Technical Manual the point of the investment section is to:

This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that make investment decisions that promote sustainability. Most institutions invest some of their assets in order to generate income. Together, colleges and universities invest hundreds of billions of dollars. Schools with transparent and democratic investment processes promote accountability and engagement by the campus and community. Furthermore, institutions can support sustainability by investing in companies and funds that, in addition to providing a strong rate of return, are committed to social and environmental responsibility. Investing in these companies also supports the development of sustainable products and services. Finally, campuses can engage with the businesses in which they are invested in order to promote sustainable practices. (STARS Technical Manual, Investment section)

The introduction to the guide states:

As a member of the STARS Technical Advisor Work Group on investments and the executive director of a group that works with colleges and universities on responsible investment, I’ve seen a variety of concerns expressed by people at different institutions about how to best answer the questions in the Investment section of STARS, both being honest and scoring the points that they deserve. This section has confused people for different reasons, from difficulty evaluating investments to lack of understanding of a Committee on Socially Responsible Investment or as we call it, a Committee on Investor Responsibility (CIR).

In this document I hope to answer many of the questions that people have and clarify the scoring system.

Check it out!

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