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

STARS v2.2

Boston University
PA-9: Committee on Investor Responsibility

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Lila Hunnewell
Chief Investment Officer
Boston University Investment Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a formally established and active committee on investor responsibility (CIR) or equivalent body?:

The charter or mission statement of the CIR or other body which reflects social and environmental concerns or a brief description of how the CIR is tasked to address social and environmental concerns:

The Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing ("ACSRI") provides the University community a framework and forum for the consideration of and civil discourse on socially responsible investment policy issues. The mission of the Advisory Committee is to: 

  1. represent a wide spectrum of the community (trustees, faculty, and students);

  2. be knowledgeable about relevant socially responsible investing issues so as to be able to engage in informed, thoughtful, and collegial consideration and discussion;

  3. provide continuity and institutional memory on relevant policy issues;

  4. advise the Board of Trustees on socially responsible investment policy issues by proposing written policies for the Board’s consideration; and

  5. coordinate and facilitate communication on relevant policy issues.

Does the CIR include academic staff representation?:

Does the CIR include non-academic staff representation?:

Does the CIR include student representation?:

Members of the CIR, including affiliations and role:

Members include:

  • 3 Trustees

  • 3 Faculty members

  • 3 Student members

  • Dean of Students - Ex-officio member

  • President - Ex-officio member

  • Chief Investment Officer - Administrative liaison

  • General Counsel - Administrative liaison

  • Chief of Staff to the President - Administrative liaison

  • Deputy Chief of Staff to the President - Administrative liaison

Examples of CIR actions during the previous three years:

In November 2019, the Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing ("ACSRI"") recommended to the Board of Trustees that “To ensure inclusive, University-wide conversations and processes to gather relevant constituent perspectives and information, in advance of the Board of Trustees’ fall 2021 review of the issues surrounding climate change and related investment and divestment opportunities, the Board of Trustees should formally request the ACSRI to (a) develop and (b) then recommend for the Board of Trustees considered a process plan, including details on actions, events, responsibilities and timing.”

In December 2019, The Board of Trustees approved this proposal and asked the ACSRI to propose a plan, which, after Covid-19 related delays, was presented in November 2020.

In December 2020, the Board of Trustees approved the ACSRI’s proposed process plan and also delegated to the ACSRI implementation responsibility.

From January 2021 to June 2021, the ACSRI executed the plan and engaged the community in discussions about Fossil Fuels.

In June 2021, the ACSRI made the following recommendation to the Board of Trustees: "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"

On September 22, 2021, Trustees revisited the fossil fuel divestment topic and unanimously voted to approve the ACSRI's recommendation, with no changes.

Website URL where information about the institution’s committee on investor responsibility is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

This represents FY2023 BU Metrics.

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