Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.33
Liaison Lisa Kilgore
Submission Date March 1, 2024

STARS v2.2

Cornell University
PA-9: Committee on Investor Responsibility

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Marin Jankovic
Senior Investment Analyst
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:
Cornell University has a shared governance structure called the “Assemblies of the University.” The Assembly structure fulfills this credit by having staff, faculty, and student representation, a formal mechanism by which to make recommendations on social and environmental investment to asset managers, and a stated component of the Assembly charter to address social and environmental issues, including investment (as well as having these issues as regular parts of the standing Assembly agendas, in practice). The Assemblies serve as advisory bodies to the administration and formally advise the administration and recommend changes to policies through legislative processes articulated in their respective charters. The three constituent assemblies–representing undergraduate students, graduate and professional students, and staff–and the all-constituency University Assembly, along with the Faculty Senate, comprise Shared Governance at Cornell. The Assemblies serve as a CIR structure, in that, consideration of proxy voting, responsible investment, divestment, ESG, and low-carbon considerations are recurring policy and recommendation items and are mandated specifically in several Assembly charters. This website: (https://statements.cornell.edu/2020/20200213-fossil-fuel-divestment-faq.cfm) outlines specific examples of ways in which the Assembly acts as an active recommendation body for decision-makers regarding environmental and sustainability-related investment topics, with specific resolution examples. As part of this CIR framework, constituent groups, who meet individually and/or collectively to discuss social responsibility concerns, may formally bring forward recommended concerns to the President, who may then submit such concerns to the Executive Committee (a specialized group within Cornell’s Board of Trustees). These concerns may warrant consideration for action/divestment. The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees then serves as the vetting entity for all social and environmental recommendations brought to its attention on a formal basis, by one or more of the university constituency groups. The Executive Committee, with input from various parties, including but not limited to the Investment Committee and President, deliberates on each matter, and determines whether criteria for action/divestment are met. Examples of the inclusion of environmental and sustainability considerations in the charters of Assembly governance include: Cornell University’s Board of Trustees voted to support a decision by its Investment Committee to institute a moratorium on new private investments focused on fossil fuels and to grow its investments in alternative energy technologies which accelerate the transition to a low-carbon environment. https://news.cornell.edu/stories/2020/05/cornell-announces-moratorium-fossil-fuel-investments#:~:text=The%20Cornell%20University%20Board%20of,investments%20in%20alternative%20energy%20technologies. Cornell University’s Employee Assembly established the Employee Welfare Committee that reviews and recommends proposals and initiatives related to employee health and wellness, work/life, dependent care and family support, diversity and inclusion, sustainability, transportation, compensation, and any other topic deemed relevant to employee welfare (Article III, Section 3.4, C). https://assembly.cornell.edu/sites/default/files/ea-bylaws_7.29.19.pdf Cornell University’s Student Assembly launched the Environmental Committee that creates new legislation, enforces past environmental legislation, and provides environmental education and outreach to better inform students and the campus community about the environment and relevant issues. https://assembly.cornell.edu/committees/student-assembly-environmental-committee

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:
Within Cornell’s system of CIR, as indicated above, numerous parties participate. Representation includes staff, graduate and professional students, undergraduate students, and faculty, with additional special representation for various campus locations and specialized affiliations. For a full list of membership, see https://assembly.cornell.edu/members

Examples of CIR actions during the previous three years:
Governance groups have raised inquiries on a wide range of topics including conflict minerals, fossil fuel exposure, and human rights violations. Over the past three years, the Office of University Investments (“OUI”) has reviewed and maintained its prescription against holdings in oil companies involved in financing genocide in Sudan, as well as Sudanese government obligations, its restrictions on holding securities related to private prisons in certain of its relevant accounts, and its moratorium on new private investments focused on fossil fuels. The office continues to monitor situations that could negatively impact the long-term sustainable economic value of the endowment and consider vendors that may aid it in doing so. OUI has met with several vendors who can help Cornell further integrate comprehensive and meaningful ESG analytics into its investment decision-making. Following these meetings, OUI retained an advisory firm which supports diversity initiatives in its investment process. Currently, about 83.8% of Cornell’s long-term investment assets are handled by managers who are UNPRI signatories or have another strong ESG/SRI framework in place to support their investment decision-making processes. There have been no CIR actions regarding social or environmental concerns during the previous three years.

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:
See prior response.

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