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Report Card 2010

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Columbia University

Endowment Survey

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With the publication of the College Sustainability Report Card 2010, more than 1,100 school survey responses from over 300 institutions are now available online. In total, these surveys offer more than 10,000 pages of data collected from colleges and universities during the summer of 2009 . To access surveys from other schools, go to the  surveys section  of the website. To see grades, or to access additional surveys submitted by this school, please click the "Back to Report Card" link at the beginning or end of the survey.

 

Name : Ruth Kelley
Title:
 Manager, Socially Responsible Investing
Date survey submitted:


1) How does your school handle proxy voting on environmental, social, and governance issues?
(a) We do not have the ability to vote proxies as the entire equity holdings of the endowment are invested in mutual funds (e.g. CommonFund, Fidelity, Vanguard, etc.).
(b) We ask that our investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
(c) We provide our investment managers with general guidelines that determine our proxy votes.
(d) We provide our investment managers with specific corporate governance guidelines that determine our proxy votes.*
(e) We provide our investment managers with specific environmental and social guidelines that determine our proxy votes.*
(f) A member of our school administration determines our proxy votes.
(g) A committee of administrators and/or trustees deliberates and makes decisions on proxy votes.
(h) A committee that includes student representatives deliberates and makes recommendations or decisions on proxy votes.
(i) School community feedback is incorporated into proxy voting decisions through town hall meetings or a website.

Your answers :
Proxy voting on corporate governance matters: The practice depends on the nature of the issue.  The Committee does not currently vote on company Directors or auditors – instead, it holds a custom policy with RiskMetrics (a research and voting platform) which asks RiskMetrics to vote on those corporate governance issues according to RiskMetrics’ Baseline recommendations. The Committee did vote on those shareholder proposals in 2009 which covered both corporate governance and social issues (executive pay / perks, corporate sponsorships, predatory lending).
Proxy voting on environmental and social resolutions: G, H, and I.  Columbia has an advisory committee comprised equally of faculty, students and alumni.  The University’s EVP for Finance is a non-voting member.  The administrative manager for the Advisory Committee also attends meetings. The Advisory Committee makes recommendations to the Trustees Subcommittee on Socially Responsible Investing.  Additionally, the Advisory Committee hosts an annual Town Hall meeting in the Fall during which members of the Columbia Community can voice its opinions on social and corporate governance issues facing the Advisory Committee or similar issues that it would like the Advisory Committee and/or the Trustees Subcommittee to address.  The Advisory Committee reviews the issues from the Town Hall during the year and responds to the individual or group who brought it forth.  The Advisory Committee has a website with an “Opinions & Contact” tab on which members of the Columbia Community can write to the Manager of the Advisory Committee.

*Please provide URL or attach guidelines (optional).  http://finance.columbia.edu/sri/index.html

2) If you answered "g" or "h" to question 1, please provide the following information about the committee:

Name of committee: Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing
Number of meetings held since August 2008: 15
Name of chair(s): Jack McGourty
Position of chair (e.g., administrator, faculty, staff, student): Faculty
To whom does the committee report (e.g., Trustee Committee, President, Vice President): Trustees Subcommittee on Shareholder Responsibility
Number of administrators on committee: 1 (non-voting)
Number of alumni on committee: 4
Number of faculty on committee: 4
Number of staff on committee: 0
Number of students on committee: 4
Number of trustees on committee: 0 on the Advisory Committee; 3 on the Trustees Subcommittee on Shareholder Responsibility
Total number of committee members: 13 (Advisory Committee members)

3) Please indicate what information about proxy voting records is made available to each of the groups listed under "Your answers" (select all that apply):
(a)  No information is made available
(b)  Votes cast on proxy resolutions only by category (and not company specific)
(c)  Votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level
(d)  Votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level, including the number of shares

Your answers :
Trustees and senior administrators: D
Trustees, senior administrators and other select members of the school community: D
All members of the school community including faculty, staff, students and alumni: C-D.  The Columbia Community (anyone with a Columbia ID) can access the Committee’s proxy voting records on its password protected website.  The voting records do not state number of shares.  Those with a Columbia ID can visit the Manager’s office to attain a hard copy of the University’s year-end public holdings (which list number of shares).
The public per open records law: B.  The public can view the Committee’s minutes and Annual Reports on its website.
The public: B

4) Where is information about proxy voting records made available?
(a) Information is not made available.
(b) Information is available at the investment office or similar office on campus.
(c) Information is sent to individuals upon request.
(d) Information is on the school website with password protection.
(e) Information is on the school website and is accessible to the public.

Your answers :
To the school community.
Proxy voting records on environmental and social resolutions: B (number of shares) and D (proxy voting records).
Proxy voting records on corporate governance matters: B (number of shares) and D (proxy voting records).  See previous explanation of Committee’s dealings with corporate governance issues.  RiskMetrics provides the Manager with a quarterly vote record for all votes cast (by Columbia and by custom voting policy).  The vote record, which includes the management proposals (Directors, auditors) voted by RiskMetrics for Columbia, can be attained with a Columbia ID at the Manager’s office.

To the public.
Proxy voting records on environmental and social resolutions: A (proxy voting record at company-specific level and number of shares are not available to the public) and E (the public can view the Committee’s minutes and Annual Reports on its website).
Proxy voting records on corporate governance matters: A and E (see above).

5) Please indicate what information about endowment holdings is made available to each of the groups listed under "Your answers" (select all that apply):
(a)  No information is made available 
(b)  Asset allocation
(c)  List of external managers
(d)  List of mutual funds
(e)  Equity holdings
(f)  Fixed income holdings
(g)  Real estate holdings
(h)  Hedge fund holdings
(i)  Private equity holdings
(j)  Venture capital holdings
(k)  Natural resource holdings
(l)  Cash
(m)  Other holdings (please specify)
(n)  All holdings

Your answers :
Available to trustees and senior administrators: N
Available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community: E.  The Committee can attain the list of year-end public equity holdings.
Available to all members of the school community, including faculty, staff, students, and alumni: E.  The Columbia Community can attain the list of year-end public equity holdings at the Advisory Committee’s Manager’s office with a Columbia ID.
Available to the public per open records law: B (broadly, in financial statement disclosure)
Available to the public: B (broadly, in financial statement disclosure)

6) Please indicate where information about endowment holdings is made available to the school community and to the public:
(a) Information is not made available.
(b) Information is available at the investment office or similar office on campus.
(c) Information is sent to individuals upon request.
(d) Information is on the school website with password protection.
(e) Information is on the school website and is accessible to the public.

Your answers :
To the school community: B
To the public: B  (broadly, in financial statement disclosure)

7) Is your school currently invested in any of the following areas? (Please list all that apply.)
(a) Renewable energy funds or similar investment vehicles
(b) Community development financial institutions or community development loan funds
(c) On-campus energy and/or water efficiency projects through the endowment (as an investment and not a payout)
(d) None of the above

Your answer : A. The University has investments in certain private equity funds with targeted investments in renewable energy.  Certain University investment managers may make direct targeted investments in renewable energy when found to be economically attractive.

8) Is your school currently exploring investment in any of the following areas? (Please list all that apply.)
(a) Renewable energy funds or similar investment vehicles
(b) Community development financial institutions or community development loan funds
(c) On-campus energy and/or water efficiency projects through the endowment (as an investment and not as a payout)
(d) None of the above

Your answer : A

9) Does your school have any investment policy provisions, or use any investment managers, that consider environmental/sustainability factors?
(a) No
(b) Yes (please describe)
(c) Currently under consideration (please describe)

Your answer :  B.  As policy, Columbia screens out investments in tobacco manufacturers and non-American companies doing business in Sudan.  A number of the University’s investment managers consider environmental factors when making an investment, as long as the investment is correspondingly economically attractive.

10) Does your school offer donors the option of directing gifts to an investment fund that considers environmental/sustainability factors?
(a) No
(b) Yes (please describe)
(c) Currently under consideration (please describe)

Your answer : A and B. While Columbia does not offer the option of directing gifts to an investment fund that considers environmental / sustainability factors, we do provide the option of directing gifts towards specific programs and / or departments that seek to make a social impact.  For example, gifts can be made directly to the Earth Institute, the Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development or the Center for Tropical Agriculture and Rural Environment to support students and research.

Question 11 is for informational purposes only; responses will NOT be included in the Report Card evaluation process .

11) Please provide total endowment value as of the following dates:
6/30/2008: $7.15 billion.
9/30/2008:
12/31/2008:
3/31/2009:
6/30/2009 (may be submitted separately at a later date):

 

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