"First, however, some context. In 2017, the university ceased additional investments in fossil fuel companies and in funds where fossil fuels are part of the investment mix. More recently, we launched a portfolio focused on ESG investments—that is, companies and funds where policies and practices reflect concern for our environment and social responsibility, and also demonstrate governance practices that advance ethical behavior among leaders (for example, avoiding conflicts of interest) as well as the organization as a whole. It now includes about $46 million in holdings, and we will continue to seek opportunities to increase the amount.
The university’s existing fossil fuel-related investments include approximately $3 million in public holdings, which involve funds and companies open to all. The university has full control of the timing and nature of its investment decisions for these holdings, and so should be able to divest fairly quickly.
Case Western Reserve also has roughly $48 million in private holdings, which involve opportunities available only to select investors. In the large majority of those instances, the university’s participation involved commitments to remain invested for a period of years. Our team will divest from those holdings as quickly as is possible without incurring significant losses, which in turn could affect the annual support the endowment provides to university operations.
I want to commend students from Undergraduate Student Government, and others, for advocating for this change with an approach that emphasized facts, research, and well-articulated arguments. Our trustees and I agree that this step is the right one for Case Western Reserve and, in turn, the world at large. "
- Interim President Scott Cowen