Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 69.73
Liaison Lindsey Lyons
Submission Date June 13, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

Dickinson College
PAE-17: Shareholder Advocacy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 5.00 / 5.00 Neil Leary
Center for Sustainability Education
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution filed or co-filed one or more shareholder resolutions that address sustainability during the past three years?:

Has the institution submitted one or more letters about social or environmental responsibility to a company in which it holds investments during the previous three years?:

Has the institution conducted a negative screening of its entire investment pool within the last three years?:

A brief description of how the institution (or its foundation) has engaged in shareholder advocacy that promotes sustainability during the previous 3 years. :
The SRI Discussion Group engages in shareholder advocacy through direct communications with corporations and through proxy voting. In 2007 the SRI Discussion Group debated actions regarding the college’s holdings in Shlumberger, a company with activities in Sudan and in which Dickinson owned equity shares. Options considered ranged from divestment to active shareholder engagement. The SRI Discussion Group convened teleconferences with officers of Shlumberger to share the college’s concerns and to learn more about the policies and activities of Shlumberger. Following their investigations, the SRI Discussion Group recommended that the college continue to hold shares in Shlumberger and to also continue active shareholder engagement with the company to promote socially responsible policies and monitor its activities. The recommendation was adopted by the college. The SRI Discussion Group researched and made recommendations on proxy votes up until 2009. But in 2009 Dickinson reallocated its endowment, closing the only directly invested equity portfolio and shifting all investments into mutual funds. With this change, Dickinson no longer has direct equity ownership in corporations and cannot vote proxies directly. However, Dickinson can make recommendations for voting proxies to managers of the mutual funds that we own, which the SRI Discussion Group has done. Approximately three-quarters of our endowment is invested through Investure LLC, which manages a pooled portfolio for a consortium that includes Dickinson, Smith, Middlebury, Trinity and Barnard colleges, the University of Tulsa, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, and others. In collaboration with Smith, Middlebury and Barnard Colleges, Dickinson has requested that Investure forward proxy information to the members of the consortium so that we might advise Investure on how to vote their proxies. In spring 2009 the SRI Discussion Group focused on ballot issues for Google Inc. The two main issues that were to be voted on at Google’s 2009 shareholder meeting involved Google’s censorship policies and their employee healthcare benefits. Members of the SRI Discussion Group debated the ballot issues and reached agreement on positions for each. Their recommendations for voting proxies were presented to the Investure fund manager on behalf of the college. The SRI Discussion Group plans to continue to engage in shareholder advocacy through proxy vote recommendations to Investure. We have also had conversations with some of the other colleges that are part of the consortium to explore how our students might share perspectives on important proxy issues and seek consensus recommendations for proxy voting by Investure. We have not yet acted on this idea, but it is on our agenda for the future.

The website URL where information about the negative screen, divestment effort, and/or direct engagement with companies in which the institution holds investments is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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.