Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 50.03
Liaison Caroline Bruno
Submission Date May 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Williams College
PA-9: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 4.00 Abigail Wattley
Director
Investment Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution wish to pursue Option 1 (positive sustainability investment)?:
Yes

Total value of the investment pool:
2807370636 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) 160000 US/Canadian $
Green revolving loan funds that are funded from the endowment 0 US/Canadian $

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

Williams has a diversified investment pool that includes investments in equities, fixed income, and private alternatives. In alternative investments we hold some investments in companies that focus on sustainable resources (e.g. solar and wind power, recycling, carbon emissions, etc.)

Williams has established the following investment vehicles:
- A Social Choice fund for donors which is invested in a socially responsible mutual fund
and a community loan fund.
- A dedicated fossil fuel-free investment fund, held parallel to the endowment, to which
donors may direct major gifts beyond their annual Alumni Fund and Parents Fund
contributions.
- A low-carbon vehicle within the TIAA-CREF plan in which our employees may choose
to invest their retirement savings.


Percentage of the institution's investment pool in positive sustainability investments:
0.01

Does the institution wish to pursue Option 2 (investor engagement)?:
Yes

Does the institution have a publicly available sustainable investment policy?:
No

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

A brief description of how the policy is applied, including recent examples:

We seek opportunities to allocate a portion of the endowment to “impact investment” managers whose areas of expertise include companies, projects or technologies focused on the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions. The return on such investments will be evaluated not solely in monetary terms, but also in terms of their potential effectiveness in addressing climate change.
Update on Sustainable Investing Policy as of June 30, 2018:
We continue our work on sourcing impact investment managers with expertise in companies,
projects or technologies focused on the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions. We pursue these investments in a manner that is consistent with our fiduciary duty to pursue the highest risk-adjusted returns for the Investment Pool. We made our first impact investment in FY17 in a fund that provides debt financing to small-and mid-sized alternative energy projects in North America.


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?:
No

A copy of the proxy voting guidelines or proxy record:
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A brief description of how managers are adhering to proxy voting guidelines:

Williams has not filed a shareholder resolution or written directly to companies, but has written to investment managers. See below.

"Williams College has an Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (ACSR). A detailed description of the activities of the committee can be found at the link below, inclusive of membership. The College does not have any interest in direct shares in public companies and so
the ACSR does not vote proxies or file shareholder resolutions.
https://committees.williams.edu/other-committees/shareholder-responsibility/

During fiscal year 2016, we wrote to our investment managers to help us in our effort to lead in
the area of climate change by asking that they consider carefully the impact of potential
investments or investment strategies on greenhouse gas emissions, and that they endeavor to
understand and, where appropriate, influence the environmental responsibility practices of the
companies with which they are involved.


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:
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Does the institution have a publicly available investment policy with negative screens?:
Yes

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

Williams screens the Investment Pool for direct investments related to Sudan. Further, the Investment Office has sent letters to its separate account managers requiring that they divest from Sudan.


Approximate percentage of the endowment that the negative screens apply to:
100

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:

Members of the institution network collaboratively both formally and informally with peer institutions on industry best practices. Staff members attend industry relevant conferences and training sessions as well.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.