Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 56.35
Liaison Amy Kadrie
Submission Date Dec. 15, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Rochester
PA-10: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.87 / 5.00 Douglas Phillips
Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Officer
Investment Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total value of the investment pool:
US/Canadian $

Value of holdings in each of the following categories:
Value of holdings
Sustainable industries (e.g., renewable energy or sustainable forestry) US/Canadian $
Businesses selected for exemplary sustainability performance (e.g., using criteria specified in a sustainable investment policy) US/Canadian $
Sustainability investment funds (e.g., a renewable energy or impact investment fund) US/Canadian $
Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) or the equivalent US/Canadian $
Socially responsible mutual funds with positive screens (or the equivalent) US/Canadian $
Green revolving funds funded from the endowment US/Canadian $

A brief description of the companies, funds, and/or institutions referenced above:
Not publicly available information. The University’s Long Term Investment Pool currently holds $24 million in sustainable investments including solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power.

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:
At its September 25, 2018 meeting, the Investment Committee approved the following Ethical Investment Advisory Committee recommendation about Corporate Social Responsibility Investing: Corporate Social Responsibility in Investing (CSR) Policy The University’s mission includes education, research, creative expression, and provision of healthcare. These activities are conducted according to a set of core values, which include freedom of expression, equality of persons, respect for cultural diversity, dissemination of knowledge in the public interest, fair labor standards, human rights, democratic governance and environmental sustainability. Our investment policy seeks to assure the consistency of our institutional support strategies with our core values. The University invests along with our peer institutions with asset managers in long-term investment pools. We hold these managers accountable to uphold norms of corporate social responsibility. It is the University’s intention that our resources be invested in ways that are ethical, sustainable and consistent with all relevant US, foreign and international laws, as well as pertinent local ordinances and regulations. To this end, the University includes the following question in an annual questionnaire directed to our investment managers: The Investment Office, in monitoring managers in relation to what are known as corporate socially responsible (CSR) investing practices, seeks to assure that holdings in the portfolio are consistent with our core values as an institution of higher education and adhere to applicable laws and regulations. These include CSR matters pertaining to the environment, fairness in employment, corporate governance, health matters, political engagement, etc. Please describe how your firm evaluates and considers CSR matters in your investment process and disclose any areas of concern that arose in portfolio holdings over the past year. If your firm has a CSR policy, please attach it to this response. Ethical Investment Advisory Committee The University has established an Ethical Investment Advisory Committee consisting of faculty, undergraduate and graduate students and staff members, whose purpose is to identify areas of potential concern and investigate the consonance of our investment policies and values. Where appropriate, it will make recommendations to the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees regarding particular investments, communications and proxy votes. The responses to the CSR questionnaire are compiled by the Investment Office and reviewed by the EIAC annually. Members of the University community are invited to contact the committee here. Statement on Corporate Shareholder Responsibility (see here https://www.rochester.edu/endowment/investment-policies/#statementoncorporate) Transparency policy The Office of Institutional Resources will respond to written inquiries from members of the University of Rochester community (students, faculty, staff and alumni) relating to specific investment holdings within the endowment. The University does not release a list of its investment holdings, but will acknowledge, upon written request, whether or not the University is the owner of a specific security. The Office of Institutional Resources will also submit to the Investment Committee of the University’s Board of Trustees, on a case-by-case basis, requests for action pertaining to specific securities. The University has sustainability-related policies that have expanded from a ban on new investments in thermal coal/oil sands to now include a ban on new investments in or related to fossil fuels. See here for further information: https://www.rochester.edu/endowment/eiac/

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 University has established an Ethical Investment Advisory Committee consisting of faculty, undergraduate and graduate students and staff members, whose purpose is to identify areas of potential concern and investigate the consonance of the University’s investment policies and values. Where appropriate, it will make recommendations to the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees regarding particular investments, communications and proxy votes. The Investment Office continues to include a CSR question in an annual questionnaire sent to all of its investment firms. This information is shared with the EIAC.

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:

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:
No divestment effort, but the Investment Committee has approved resolutions pertaining to sustainable/responsible investing as recommended by the Ethical Investment Advisory Committee (EIAC), as follows: * May 15, 2019: The University of Rochester pledges to make no direct investments in companies engaged in substantial production of thermal coal or oil from tar sands * May 13, 2020: The University of Rochester will make no direct investments in any publicly-traded company that owns or operates private prisons, including CoreCivic and its subsidiaries, GEO Group, and G4S * June 30, 2021: The University commits itself to making no new direct investments or investments in investment vehicles through its Long-Term Investment Pool that are primarily devoted to the development, exploration, extraction, processing, storage, transportation or distribution of fossil fuels, including petroleum, coal and natural gas, or associated services The Investment Office notifies all of the University’s investment managers of the resolutions and monitors the portfolio to ensure that all holdings are in compliance.

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 joined Climate Action 100+ in May 2019 on recommendation of the Ethical Investment Advisory Committee. * Investment Office staff are co-founders of Institutional Allocators for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (IADEI) Climate Action 100+ is an investor-led initiative to ensure the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take necessary action on climate change. IADEI is a consortium of asset owners, primarily endowments and foundations, that seeks to drive diversity, equity, and inclusion within institutional investment teams and portfolios and across the investment management industry, including directing capital toward diverse fund managers.

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