Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.31
Liaison Natalie Walker
Submission Date Aug. 9, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Pennsylvania
PA-10: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.62 / 5.00 Natalie Walker
Sustainability Manager
Penn Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total value of the investment pool:
14,200,000,000 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) 0 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 funds funded from the endowment 197,000,000 US/Canadian $

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

The Penn Century Bond program was developed to accelerate building renovation programs. $197M worth of funds raised through bond sales are being applied toward projects in which energy conservation and deferred maintenance converge - typically deep-energy retrofits and lighting upgrades. Energy savings from the projects are used by the school to pay back the bond interest. The funding for the projects are internally structured, to enable the use of the funds multiple times throughout the 100 year term of the bond.

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

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

A copy of the sustainable investment policy:
The sustainable investment policy:

Net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from Penn's endowment by 2050

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

A brief description of how the sustainable investment policy is applied:

The Office of Investments aims to achieve the endowment’s net-zero goal primarily through the elimination of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the endowment’s underlying investments. This aim critically recognizes that for our world to achieve net-zero by 2050, the world-wide consumption of fossil fuels must decrease as the supply of clean energy increases and its cost decreases. We expect that progress toward the endowment’s net-zero goal will occur both through emissions reductions at the many hundreds of companies in which the endowment is invested, as well as through the redeployment of capital towards investments with low or improving carbon footprints. Any residual emissions across the endowment’s holdings would need to be offset, ideally through investments in enterprises that remove carbon from the atmosphere.

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:
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:

The Office has engaged with managers on sustainability related topics, including writing letters outlining Penn’s position on climate change, asking for data and reporting on sustainability practices, and dedicating meetings with managers to discussing their approaches to sustainability and sharing Penn’s expectations. Moreover, Penn will lend its voice and support to Penn’s managers as they encourage their portfolio companies to develop sustainable decarbonization plans.

Does the institution participate in a public divestment effort and/or have a publicly available investment policy with negative screens?:

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

The University currently has a divestment policy in place related to a number of companies operating Sudan. The University also has a policy that managers hired since 2014 who hold securities in the University’s name do not invest in tobacco-related securities. The University implements such policies by notifying managers in writing of the policies and by incorporating policies into relevant investment guidelines for managers.

Approximate percentage of endowment that the divestment effort and/or 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:

The University collaborates with a number of peer institutions to share ideas and practices related to investment sustainability. The University has participated in conferences and investor roundtables related to sustainability and ESG more broadly. Penn is involved with the Intentional Endowments Network.

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable investment efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:


The University of Pennsylvania is a major research institution, with over 3,000 degrees granted annually from twelve professional and academic schools at the Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate levels. Penn is committed to reducing emissions and energy use, as stated in the 2019 "Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0". This submission documents Penn's efforts during the FY19/20 year and compares them to the FY09 baseline year which corresponds with the University's "Climate and Sustainability Action Plan. 3.0". The submission relies on information related to the main, academic, West Philadelphia campus, but to more fully document efforts across the Penn system, information related to the Morris Arboretum and New Bolton has also been referenced and noted as outside the boundary in descriptions. The information is used to enrich examples of University efforts and is not intended to be the primary justification for credits. The responses for each of the questions and sub-questions are drawn from University materials, both internal and public documents. Each section notes the website where the information can be found.

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.