Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.30
Liaison Stephen Ellis
Submission Date May 31, 2024

STARS v2.2

Boston University
PA-10: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.46 / 5.00 Lila Hunnewell
Chief Investment Officer
Boston University Investment Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total value of the investment pool:
3,128,718,892.70 US/Canadian $

Value of holdings in each of the following categories:
Value of holdings
Sustainable industries (e.g., renewable energy or sustainable forestry) 15,311,074.52 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) 1,237,102 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 funds funded from the endowment 0 US/Canadian $

A brief description of the companies, funds, and/or institutions referenced above:

The University has made investments through external investment managers actively involved in the development of "clean" technologies, alternative energy sources, energy efficiency, emissions controls/reductions, sustainable forestry/farming techniques, and other environmentally responsible investments. The University will continue to evaluate similar investment ideas as part of the ongoing management of the endowment portfolio. The University invests the majority of its assets with third-party investment managers in funds or other collective investment vehicles. In addition to the investments of the endowment, the Investment Office staff was located in the University's first geothermal building, and in the Summer of 2012 moved to a newly renovated building that is certified LEED Gold by the US Green Building Council. In recognition of the growing importance of incorporation ESG principles into investment processes, BU has evidenced that some of its external investment managers have implemented one or more of the following, (1) adopted the Six Principles of the PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment), (2) developed formal ESG policies and (3) are developing or have developed ESG integration teams within and across their portfolio management organizations.


Percentage of the institution's investment pool in positive sustainability investments:
0.53

Does the institution have a publicly available sustainable investment policy?:
No

A copy of the sustainable investment policy:
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The sustainable investment policy:
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Does the institution use its sustainable investment policy to select and guide investment managers?:
No

A brief description of how the sustainable investment policy is applied:
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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?:
No

A copy of the proxy voting guidelines or proxy record:
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A brief description of how managers are adhering to proxy voting guidelines:
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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:
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Does the institution participate in a public divestment effort and/or have a publicly available investment policy with negative screens?:
Yes

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

On September 22, 2021, Trustees revisited the fossil fuel divestment topic and unanimously voted to approve the ACSRI's recommendation, with no changes. For its divestment recommendations “Fossil-Fuel exposure” should be defined as investments in companies that extract oil, natural gas, coal and/or tar sands. To continue the endowment’s recent downward trend for its fossil‐fuel investments, the University should: I) Immediately: A) Commit to no new, direct investments in companies that extract fossil fuels B) Divest from current, direct investments in fossil‐fuel extractors C) Commit to no new investments in dedicated fossil-fuel-focused products, in any asset class II) Divest from all other fossil‐fuel investments over time while making best efforts to limit fossil‐fuel exposure during that divestment process, recognizing that: A) It is in the best interest of the University to avoid large financial losses associated with rapid sale of finite‐lived private equity investments B) The current private fossil-fuel investments may take more than a decade to liquidate C) The ability to remove indirect Fossil-Fuel exposure from the University's endowment should improve over time as more Fossil-Fuel-Free investment products become available D) Eliminating 100% may prove challenging, given the endowment's scale and resulting dependence on commingled investment products and index-based ETF's; and E) The Investment Office has the discretion to determine how best to balance the University’s dual objectives of (a) steadily reducing and then ultimately divesting from all fossil fuel investment exposure and (b) supporting the critically important transition to alternative sources of energy. For example, the Investment Office should not be prohibited from investing in an alternative energy‐transition‐focused product, which has fossil‐fuel exposure that is either de minimis or relatively small and declining. In order to ensure transparency, such decisions will be reported to and reviewed by the Board of Trustees’ Investment Committee annually. III) Prioritize investment in fossil-fuel‐free products IV) Annually report progress and extent of the endowment’s fossil-fuel exposure to the ACSRI, the Investment Committee, and the Board of Trustees Monitor the development of (a) tools to measure Green House Gas emissions generated by the endowments’ underlying company holdings and (b) methods to offset their net emissions, with the goal of considering adopting a GHG-Net-Zero-by-2050-year policy at a point in the future when implementation is possible; periodically, report development progress to the ACSRI, Investment Committee and Board of Trustees"


Approximate percentage of endowment that the divestment effort and/or negative screens apply to:
100

Does the institution engage in policy advocacy by participating in investor networks and/or engage in inter-organizational collaborations to share best practices?:
No

A brief description of the investor networks and/or collaborations:
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Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable investment efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

This represents FY2023 BU Metrics.


At BU, the Investment office “runs” the Pooled Endowment and has nothing to do with the non-Pooled Endowment. Therefore, all of the responses supplied have to do with the Pooled Endowment only.


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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.