Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.15
Liaison Lori Collins-Hall
Submission Date March 5, 2021
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Sterling College (VT)
PA-8: Committee on Investor Responsibility

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 2.00 Matthew Derr
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a formally established and active committee on investor responsibility (CIR) that makes recommendations to fund decision-makers on socially and environmentally responsible investment opportunities across asset classes?:

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:

Sterling College’s mission includes a commitment to ecological thinking and action and the College has committed to become an anti-racist institution. It is critical that the Endowment’s investments and investment management practices reflect these values. Investment managers will avoid investing Sterling’s endowment and cash reserves in companies with material involvement in the following:

• Fossil fuel extraction, exploration, production, and refining
• Production of electric power generated primarily by fossil fuels or nuclear fuels
• Conventional or nuclear weapons and their support systems
• Manufacture or sale of firearms for civilian use
• Privatized operation of prisons
• Animal testing, beyond legal requirements
• Factory farming
• Tobacco, tobacco products, and e-cigarettes
• Agricultural biotechnology
• Activities that provide strategic support to repressive regimes (e.g., Myanmar and North Korea)
Investment managers will seek to invest in corporations and organizations with the following characteristics:
• Public, comprehensive reporting on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance
• Beneficial products or services, such as energy efficiency, water conservation, renewable energy, and regenerative agriculture
• Strong policies and practices to address climate change, such as greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and extensive use of renewable energy
• Proportional representation of women and minorities on the board and top management
• Disclosure of workforce diversity (EEO-1 form)
• Strong supplier diversity programs
• Progressive employment policies (e.g. generous retirement benefits, employee stock‐ownership plans, same‐sex domestic-partner benefits, on‐site childcare, liberal parental leave)
• Express policies and practices ensuring full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees
• Strong affirmative action programs and demonstrated achievements in advancing women and people of color in management and in fields in which they are underrepresented
• Respect for workers’ freedom to organize and freedom of association
• Consistent application of best environmental, labor, and human rights practices globally, even where local or national laws are less stringent
• Commitment to free, prior, and informed consent when conducting business on indigenous land, following the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
• Policies to discourage child labor or other grossly exploitative labor practices in the provision of services and the manufacture and sourcing of products
• Strong board oversight of ESG policies and performance

The Investment Subcommittee assists the Board of Trustees in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities for the ethical, prudent and effective investment of the endowment, formulates investment policies, and oversees management of the endowment.

Roles and Responsibilities
The subcommittee is responsible for the endowment and other investment assets of the college. The committee is responsible for monitoring investment results, overseeing compliance with the investment policies as bulleted above, and adjusting policies as needed due to changes in the environment or needs of the college. However, the committee is not responsible for overseeing or monitoring any matters related to the performance of assets held under any employee benefit plan subject to ERISA, and the committee will serve only in a settlor, and not fiduciary, capacity with respect to any such plan.

Does the CIR include staff representation?:

Does the CIR include faculty representation?:
+ Date Revised: Aug. 20, 2021

Does the CIR include student representation?:
+ Date Revised: Aug. 20, 2021

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

The committee shall consist of no fewer than three voting members of the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees. The Dean of Finance & Operations shall serve as liaison to the committee. Board meetings and committee meetings are open to all members of the Sterling community -- staff, faculty, and students -- with the exception of closed-door sessions of the Executive Committee.

Examples of CIR actions during the previous three years:

Sterling College's successful divestment from fossil fuels did not come as a reaction to student pressure; rather, it was the Board of Trustees who made the decision and voted unanimously for the college to become the first in Vermont, and the third in the nation, to divest its endowment. In the last six months, Sterling conducted a complete review of investment policies which were adopted by the Trustees.

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

Additional documentation to support 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.