Overall Rating Reporter - expired
Overall Score
Liaison Tavey Capps
Submission Date Feb. 25, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Duke University
PA-13: Committee on Investor Responsibility

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Tavey Capps
Environmental Sustainability Director
Office of the Executive Vice President
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Does the institution have a formally established and active committee on investor responsibility (CIR) or similar body that has multi-stakeholder representation (i.e. includes faculty, staff, and students) and otherwise meets the criteria for this credit?:

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:

In 2004, the Duke Board of Trustees approved the Guideline for the University on Socially Responsible Investing. Recognizing the need for a mechanism to assist the President on making recommendations to the BOT on this issue, two committees were created, the President’s Special Committee on Investment Responsibility (PSC) and the Advisory Committee on Investment Responsibility (ACIR).

The PSC considers proposals from the University community relating to investment responsibility concerns and determines if there are credible allegations of substantial social injury. If the PSC agrees an issue requires further investigation, it will be referred to the ACIR for further review. The ACIR examines the issue and determines whether to propose to the President a course of action by the BOT. The President has the option to take the recommendation to the BOT or provide a written explanation to the ACIR on why their recommendation was not accepted. The President’s Office presents an annual report to the Duke Community on the work of the PSC, ACIR and the President’s and BOT responses.

When the University community has engaged in substantive discourse on an issue and expressed broad concern that a substantive social injury is being caused by such policies or practices, the President may make a recommendation to the BOT. Where the BOT agrees, it may instruct the Duke University Mgt. Company (DUMAC) to take appropriate action, including the exercise of the University’s practicable shareholder rights to seek modification of the company’s activities to eliminate or reduce the injury, using such means as –
- Direct correspondence with management
- Proxy votes
- Sponsoring shareholder resolutions

In cases where these actions do not impact the company’s actions, the BOT can also instruct DUMAC to divest the securities in question within a reasonable time period.

Members of the CIR, including affiliations and role (e.g. student, faculty, alumni):

The PSC is composed of the Provost and the Executive Vice President (or their delegates); the Dean of the one of the professional schools; the chair of ECAC or faculty member designated by ECAC; and a young trustee designated by the BOT. The PSC chair is appointed by the President.

The ACIR has nine voting members: one undergraduate and one graduate or professional student elected respectively by the Duke student government and graduate and professional student council; one alumnus elected by the Duke University alumni association; two faculty members elected by the academic council; the university counsel or his or her delegate; the deputy treasurer or his or her delegate; and two administrative appointees chosen by the president. The members are appointed for at least two years and may be reappointed, serving until their successors take office. The president appoints the chair from among the voting members.

Examples of CIR actions during the previous three years:

Several of the companies in which Duke is invested that produce exemplary environmental technologies are highlighted below:

A123 Systems – A123 Systems creates lithium ion batteries for electric cars and other applications, as well as energy storage systems for a smarter electricity grid.
SatCon Technology Corporation – SatCon Technology Corporation develops innovative power conversion solutions and provides system design services for utility-scale renewable energy plants.
1366 Technologies - With the mantra “solar at the cost of coal,” 1366 Technologies develops innovative manufacturing solutions for silicon cell manufacturers, including wafer and cell technologies that may cut the cost of installed solar power by more than fifty percent.
Additional areas of environmentally sustainable investments include, but are not limited to:

Greenhouse gas capture and carbon credit generation (coal mine methane and landfill gas capture)
Alternative energy sources (wind, hydro, biofuels, geothermal, solar, fuel cells)
“Smart Grid” technologies (energy consumption management software and solutions)
Recycling (soils, metals, rubber, biomass)
Consumer products (organic foods, recycling incentives, packaging, automobiles)

The website URL where information about the CIR is available:

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.