Efforts and Investments in Sustainable Investments

2007 First-Year Seminar titled “War Crimes, Tribunals, and Truth Commissions” served as the inspiration for a student proposal to consider divestment from companies in Darfur, Sudan. 
August 2007 Dickinson created the Socially Responsible Investing Discussion Group to explore divestment, with a focus on companies in Darfur, Sudan. The group expanded its focus to include an exploration of socially responsible investing more broadly and concluded with a white paper in 2009. 
Feb-April 2010 Investure formed the Sustainability Series for interested clients.  The core of the Sustainable Series consists of investments in high-quality businesses with high-quality management teams that have taken a long-term approach to managing the economic, environmental and social aspects of their business.  The Sustainable Series may also include more thematic investments with managers who focus on specific sustainability issues (clean energy, water, climate change, green real estate, etc.).  The first investment in the Sustainability Series was a global public equities manager with broad sector exposure that focuses on integrating an understanding of sustainability issues and trends alongside fundamental business and management analysis.
June 2010 Dickinson invested $4 million in the Sustainability Series.
October 2011 The Sustainability Series made its second investment in Brazilian hydro and wind power.
April 2012 Dickinson’s Investment Committee approved Recommended Proxy Voting Principles, which are shared with Investure’s third-party managers. These principles reflect the core values of many consortium clients regarding environmental and socially responsible investing and are intended to promote a culture of active shareholder engagement.
February 2013 Investure began more granular reporting on fossil fuel and sustainability exposure for Dickinson and dedicates additional resources to help communicate with Dickinson’s students, faculty, and staff on sustainability efforts.
May 2013 Dickinson creates the Sustainable Investments Task Force (“SITF”) in response to calls from students to divest from fossil fuel investments. A 7-month study was conducted with recommendations sent to the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees in December 2013.
May 2014

In response to SITF recommendations, the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees agreed to the following:

  • Increase the college’s commitment in The Sustainability Series to $8 million.
  • Create a new position for the Associate Vice President for Sustainability and Facilities Planning in Financial Operations
  • Create a revolving loan fund to finance a series of projects aimed at achieving our carbon emissions goals under the AICUP Presidents’ Climate Commitment. 
  • Continue the work of SITF by creating a standing subcommittee of the President’s Commission on Environmental Sustainability (Dickinson Sustainable Investment Group – “DSIG”). 
Summer 2014 Investure hosted a Dickinson intern to study issues related to sustainability. Projects included an analysis of Investure joining the UN- supported Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative; research for an energy summit off-site; and research on composition of ESG indices.
January 2015 The Sustainability Advisory Group (“SAG”) was formed with Investment Committee representatives from Dickinson and other interested Investure clients.  SAG members discuss sustainability issues on their campuses and within the Investure portfolio. 
April 2015

DSIG Annual Forum – 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 the community following the forum.

September 2015 Investure hosted students from Dickinson and other client campuses to continue direct dialogue about their concerns regarding fossil fuel investments.
January 2016

DSIG Annual Forum – 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 on campus. Audience participation through Q&A.

February 2016

DSIG Annual Forum – 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.

September 2016 The Committee on Investments endorsed DSIG’s investment beliefs statement for use by DSIG.
October 2016 Dickinson committed $2 million to a private manager focused on delivering cutting-edge sustainability best practices to its portfolio of investments through innovations in sustainability and advanced technologies.
October 2016

DSIG Annual ForumFinancing 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.

February 2018 The Committee on Investments approved an increase in Dickinson’s commitment to the Sustainability Series from $8 million to $16 million and agreed to invest in a low carbon exchange-traded fund as a placeholder for the unallocated or uncalled portion of Dickinson’s total commitment (approximately $11 million).
February 2018 DSIG adopts a Sustainable Investment Reporting policy to guide performance reporting for AASHE STARS and other external reports.
March 2018 Dickinson submitted their updated AASHE STARS report. Investure worked with DSIG to include additional criteria for the quarterly exposure report based on the Sustainable Investment Reporting policy.
April 2018 Dickinson committed $1.7 million to a manager specializing in identifying idiosyncratic sustainable real assets, leveraging decades of experience in sustainability, value investing, and real assets.
October 2018

DSIG Annual Forum – 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. 

Fall 2018 Dickinson committed $1.3 million to a manager investing in businesses that create stakeholder value while building a more sustainable and cleaner economy. The investment closed in May 2019.
May 2019 Dickinson committed $1.7 million to the next fund of an existing sustainability manager.
May 2019 DSIG dissolved until such time as there is a need to reconstitute and reconvene the group. It was agreed that the President’s Commission on Environmental Sustainability would be the appropriate forum for discussion of ESG questions with regards to the endowment.
Fall 2019 Sustainability and energy transition becomes an investment theme and focus throughout the broader portfolio. Investure dedicates an investment professional to lead research and sourcing around these themes.
December 2020 Dickinson committed $0.4 million to a climate-related venture capital fund.
March 2021 Dickinson committed $0.4 million to the next fund of an existing sustainability manager.
Spring 2022 First investments made in carbon allowance markets.
Fall 2022 Additional investment in the Sustainability Series. Dickinson is now fully committed to the original $16M commitment to the Sustainability Series.