Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 71.03
Liaison Cora Kenfield
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

Vassar College
PA-10: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.39 / 5.00 Cora Kenfield
Director of Sustainability
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total value of the investment pool:
1,100,000,000 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) 40,000,000 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 funds funded from the endowment 0 US/Canadian $

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

Vassar has just made a substantial investment in a major pooled fund for sustainable investments, with this expected to substantially increase in the years to come.


Percentage of the institution's investment pool in positive sustainability investments:
3.64

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

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

Investment Strategy:

We have established an investment policy that explicitly includes Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations. This policy incorporates an evaluation of environmental considerations, sustainability of business models, corporate governance structures and practices, and social issues into the investment review process. The investment firm that manages the endowment with our oversight, continues to put this ESG lens on all potential investment managers. Consistent with our new investment policy, we note that:

We have no direct investments in any company that explores, refines, or develops reserves of fossil fuels and as a long-term investor, we do not plan to make such investments in the future.
We recently declined to re-invest in a small private equity investment in fossil fuel hard assets, an investment that was made years ago that represents less than 2% of our portfolio. This has put our last private equity fossil fuel manager into runoff. We do not plan to make additional investments in private equity strategies that focus on fossil fuel investments in the future.
In addition to our ESG considerations, our investment manager selection will also consider commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
We have begun to build a portfolio of investments in funds that support the transition to sustainable businesses and a green economy. We see these investments as having the potential for strong longer-term returns as the economy transitions to renewable energy, and we continue to evaluate potential investments in this area.

https://www.vassar.edu/trustees/messages-notes/vassar-statement-board-trustees-commitment-combat-climate-change


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

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

The policy guides selection of our portfolio manager, currently Hall Capital, as well as our engagement and input in the management of their policy. Hall Capital, who manages Vassar's endowment, selects many of its fund managers with expectations that they integrate ESG principles and "Full Consequence Investing" (FCI) into their processes. To quote from their policy:
In strategies such as private equity, real estate and hard assets Hall Capital continues to find managers who:
 Believe that evaluating long-term business sustainability can improve performance over the long term
 Incorporate FCI factors into diligence, and document their policy and process
 Seek to improve long-term sustainability of companies or assets, recognizing that sustainability and
efficiency (leading to increased long-term profitability) are often closely linked
 Apply and track FCI-related metrics for underlying assets to track sustainability milestones and goals
 Proactively invest and/or drive change in companies or industries that address sustainability themes
 Have senior-level buy-in, dedicated senior resources in the sustainability area, and/or exhibit awareness of
FCI at all levels of the organization


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?:
Yes

A copy of the proxy voting guidelines or proxy record:
---

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

As part of our commitment to full consequence investing, managers integrate ESG criteria into proxy decisions.


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?:
No

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?:
Yes

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

Vassar College recently announced a commitment to avoid direct investments in fossil fuels


Approximate percentage of endowment that the divestment effort and/or negative screens apply to:
98.80

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

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

Our endowment management firm, Hall Capital, is a signatory to the UN PRI


Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable investment efforts is available:
---

Additional documentation to support the submission:
---

Hall Capital Partners LLC, whose policies are listed above, currently manages Vassar's endowment, substantiated in our annual IRS filings: https://financeandadministration.vassar.edu/docs/990-2016.pdf

Statement affirmed here:
https://www.vassar.edu/trustees/messages-notes/vassar-statement-board-trustees-commitment-combat-climate-change

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.