Environmental, Social and Governance Principles
Members of the Dickinson community have voiced concerns at various times about environmental, social and governance issues as they relate to the investment of Dickinson’s endowment, as well as investments that Dickinson makes in its students, faculty, staff, campus, and in the wider community. Issues have included, for example, apartheid in South Africa, genocide in Darfur, and environmental effects of fossil energy. Dickinson responded by convening temporary committees or task forces to examine the issues, share perspectives and seek agreement on actions that reflect the values of our community while meeting our fiduciary responsibilities. These included:
Socially Responsible Investment Committee: Active in 2007-2009, was formed initially to examine questions about investments in companies active in Darfur, Sudan, but expanded its activities to encompass socially responsible investing more broadly.
Sustainable Investments Task Force: Active from 2013-2014, was established by the Board of Trustees in response to students advocating for divestment from fossil energy.
In 2014, because of ongoing interest of community members in environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles, the Dickinson Sustainable Investment Group (DSIG), a permanent standing subcommittee of the President’s Commission on Environmental Sustainability, was established. DSIG serves as a forum for the Dickinson community to discuss questions about the college’s investments and ESG principles, and to act as a liaison between the Dickinson community and the Board of Trustees’ Committee on Investments.
The specific charges given to the Dickinson Sustainability Investment Group (DSIG) are:
Provide a forum for members of the Dickinson community to raise and discuss questions regarding ESG practices of the college, recognizing that there is no commonly held definition or criteria of ESG principles or goals.
Annually, meet with the Committee on Investments of the Board of Trustees to discuss a regular annual report on our investment portfolio. As a participant in that discussion, provide input and share policies, practices and goals of other higher education institutions and other relevant sectors.
Act as a liaison between the Dickinson community and the Committee on Investments with regard to the annual review of our investment portfolio.
The following is a summary of the annual forum topics presented by DSIG:
April 2015 – All-Campus Investment Forum
A presentation and Q&A to discuss sustainable investing and the college’s endowment management practices.A Q&A recap was forwarded to the community following the forum and is summarized under the following link: Questions & Responses to the Community Investment Forum- April 23, 2015
January 2016 – Managing Dickinson’s Investments with an Eye on Sustainability
A presentation to inform the campus about how the endowment is invested and managed, along with an overview of sustainable investments made directly on campus.Audience participation through Q&A.
February 2016 – Sustainability. It’s Time for Dialog
A follow up to the discussion held in January to explore six key topics on sustainability at Dickinson by way of round table discussions facilitated by DSIG members.
October 2016 – Financing Climate Change at Dickinson
A presentation on Dickinson’s 2020 commitment and projects in place to help reduce our emissions, along with participant discussion about behavior changes and other ways to help achieve our goals.
October 2018 – Sustainable Endowment?
A presentation on the college’s endowment structure and approach to sustainable investing with a focus on the approach used by Graham Partners, one of the endowment’s fund managers.
Members of DSIG include faculty, administration and students, along with liaisons from the board of trustees, Investure and Dickinson alumni. Each year, students and college mentors form working groups to explore various topics of interest and report out to the board of trustees’ committee on investments during the winter board meetings.
Students interested in joining DSIG are asked to submit the DSIG Application to the group for consideration.