Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.64
Liaison Rachael Wein
Submission Date March 3, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Smith College
PA-9: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.71 / 4.00 David DeSwert
Associate Vice President for Financial Planning
VP/Finance and Administration
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution wish to pursue Option 1 (positive sustainability investment)?:

Total value of the investment pool:
1,600,000,000 US/Canadian $

Value of holdings in each of the following categories:
Value of Holdings
Sustainable industries (e.g. renewable energy or sustainable forestry) 0 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) 9,500,000 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 loan funds that are funded from the endowment 0 US/Canadian $

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

Investure's Sustainability Series

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

Does the institution wish to pursue Option 2 (investor engagement)?:

Does the institution have a publicly available sustainable investment policy?:

A copy of the sustainable investment policy:

The sustainable investment policy:

Does the institution use its sustainable investment policy to select and guide investment managers?:

A brief description of how the policy is applied, including recent examples:

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?:

A copy of the proxy voting guidelines or proxy record:

A brief description of how managers are adhering to proxy voting guidelines:

Investure, LLC Recommended Proxy Voting Principles:
The primary fiduciary responsibility of our client’s investment committees comprises maximizing returns while managing risk. Nevertheless, the possession of significant assets entails the responsible exercise of voting rights which come with common stock ownership.

Voting rights give shareholders the opportunity to effect responsible governance of publicly owned corporations. Active shareholder engagement strengthens the relationship among endowed organizations, their capital, and the companies and communities in which they invest. Many of Investure’s clients are mindful of the broader impact of their invested capital. Therefore, the clients have engaged with Investure to develop the following Proxy Voting Principles.

These clients’ Proxy Voting Principles are presented in two sections. The first addresses issues of corporate governance, while the second those of environmental and social responsibility. These clients regard the principles as minimum standards. Nevertheless, these clients understand that flexibility is necessary since no single standard can apply to all industries in all parts of the globe or even to companies at different stages of their life cycles. The financial sustainability of the companies in which we are invested must remain a focus.

Corporate Governance
Many Investure clients support resolutions that foster (and oppose resolutions that inhibit) reasonable best practices in corporate governance and operations, including:

Protecting the rights of all shareholders;
Ensuring the integrity and clear disclosure of the corporation’s risk management, accounting, and financial reporting systems, including the independent audit, and implementing appropriate systems of control; in particular, systems for monitoring risk, financial control, and compliance with the law;
Maintaining independent, diverse, committed, and focused boards and committees which represent the shareholders;
Adopting comprehensive code of conduct and conflict of interest policies;
Prioritizing transparency of corporate practices;
Creating clear lines of responsibility and accountability within the board and management structure; and
Establishing fair and transparent compensation schemes that incorporate financial and non-financial performance metrics of a company.

Environmental and Social Responsibility
Environmental and social responsibilities are important drivers of long-term value creation. The global economy increasingly relies on resources that face supply constraints as global consumption increases. In addition, to remain competitive on a global basis it is critical to attract and retain talented employees.

Many Investure clients support resolutions that encourage (and oppose resolutions that inhibit) the implementation of reasonable sustainable practices and environmental and social responsibility, including:

Preparing sustainability reports and adoption of policies in accordance with reasonable codes of conduct and reporting models;
Siding with transparency on environmental practices;
Adopting policies that take into account the importance of protecting stakeholders and the natural environment;
Eliminating workplace discrimination based on age, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, and ethnicity;
Supporting human rights standards, including protecting indigenous people’s rights and respecting cultural sensitivities;
Eliminating exploitative labor practices;
Providing safe workplaces; and
Siding with transparency on political contribution and activities.

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?:

Examples of how the institution has engaged with corporations in its portfolio about sustainability issues during the previous three years:

Does the institution have a publicly available investment policy with negative screens?:

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

Approximate percentage of the endowment that the negative screens apply to:

Does the institution engage in policy advocacy by participating in investor networks and/or engage in inter-organizational collaborations to share best practices?:

A brief description of the investor networks and/or collaborations:

Smith's endowment is pooled with 12 other institutions including Barnard, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Colonial Williamsburg, The Commonwealth Fund, Dickinson College, Houston Endowment, Henry Luce Foundation, Middlebury College, Trinity College, and The University of Tulsa. Middlebury College and several other members of this group have played a leadership role in establishing a sustainable investing alternative to the options offered by the investment managers.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The proxy voting principles are provided to investment managers to guide proxy voting.

The proxy voting principles are provided to investment managers to guide proxy voting.

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.