Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 55.50
Liaison Cora Kenfield
Submission Date July 22, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Vassar College
PA-14: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.05 / 4.00 Steve Dahnert
Associate Vice President and Director of Investments
Finance and Administration
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total value of the investment pool:
868,700,000 US/Canadian $

Value of holdings in each of the following categories::
Value of Holdings
Sustainable industries (e.g. renewable energy or sustainable forestry) 5,400,000 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 500,000 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 ---

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

Forestry: Timber - current valuation of $5.4 million. The fund guidelines state that GMO Renewable Resources maintains high environmental standards and manages the holdings sustainably.

Investment in the local (Arlington Community) - approximately $2.4 million has been invested over time in the commercial properties near campus, where the college is committed to maintaining the properties and renting them at a fair market rate to business enterprises. In addition, we have invested almost $500,000 in the improvement of the streetscape in this area, to promote an attractive and pedestrian-friendly commercial district that serves all Arlington residents as well as the college community. These investments are equity investments that are parallel to community development funds for local businesses.

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:

Does the institution's sustainable investment policy include negative screens?:

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

Since 2006, Vassar has had a negative screen in place for companies that operate in Sudan.

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

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:

Vassar directs the voting of some proxies as determined by the Trustee Investor Responsibility Committee from recommendations of the CIRC. If no such direction is given, managers have standing instructions to vote proxies in a manner that is most likely to benefit Vassar as an investor.

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

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

Vassar is a member of the Sustainable Investment Institute, which provides background research on upcoming proxy votes of interest.

The Chair of the Trustee Investor Responsibility Committee is alumna Christi Wood, who also is Chairwoman of the Global Reporting Initiative. The GRI is "a non-profit organization that promotes economic sustainability. It produces one of the world's most prevalent standards for sustainability reporting — also known as ecological footprint reporting, environmental social governance (ESG) reporting, triple bottom line (TBL) reporting, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting. GRI seeks to make sustainability reporting by all organizations as routine as, and comparable to, financial reporting."

The website URL where information about the institution's sustainable investment efforts is available:

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.