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Report Card 2007

2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011

Shareholder Engagement

Overview

The Shareholder Engagement category examines how colleges conduct shareholder proxy voting. As investors, colleges have an opportunity to actively consider, as well as vote on, climate change and other sustainability-related shareholder resolutions. Forming a shareholder responsibility committee to advise the trustees allows schools to include students, faculty, and alumni in research and discussion of important corporate policies on sustainability. In addition, such committees offer exceptional educational opportunities at the intersection of policy, business, and sustainability. Points were awarded for schools that had formed such committees.

 

Leading by Example

The Shareholder Engagement "A" List is a group of 16 schools that earned "A" grades. Below is a sample of three very different institutions that all earned "A" grades. These summaries are based on data from each school’s profile page.

 

Dartmouth College ’s Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility deliberates and makes recommendations on all proxy resolutions pertaining to social and environmental issues (not corporate governance issues) submitted to companies in which the College directly holds shares. In 2005 (which is the most recent data available), the College reported voting in favor of all sustainability shareholder resolutions, as well as in favor of all global climate change shareholder resolutions.

 

At Stanford University , according to established guidelines, all proxies are voted in-house by the manager of investment responsibility. Voting is driven primarily by "shareholder best interest" based on current corporate governance and social issue proxy voting guidelines. Guidelines are updated, as issues evolve, based on recommendations from an advisory panel, which includes four student and two alumni representatives. In 2000, Stanford adopted shareholder-voting guidelines that ensure the university will vote in favor of shareholder proposals relating to climate change. These became the first known voting guidelines on climate change adopted by a university in the United States or Canada.

 

At Swarthmore College , the Committee on Investor Responsibility (CIR) acts in an advisory capacity to the Investment Committee of the Board of Managers. The CIR consists of four students, three staff, and two members of the Board’s Investment Committee. The CIR prepares proxy recommendations on social and environmental issues and has filed several shareholder resolutions.

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