Yale was one of the first institutions to address formally the ethical responsibilities of institutional investors. In 1969 Professors John Simon, James Tobin, William Brainard, and Charles Lindbloom along with Yale graduate students Charles Powers and Jon Gunnemann conducted a seminar entitled "Yale's Investments," which explored the ethical, economic, and legal implications of institutional investments. Subsequently, Yale became, according to the New York Times, "the first major university to resolve this issue by abandoning the role of passive institutional investor."
The Yale Corporation Committee on Investor Responsibility (CCIR) considers and makes recommendations to the Corporation on policy matters related to ethical investing. It is supported by the work of the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility (ACIR), whose membership consists of Yale alumni, staff, faculty, and students. The Investments Office works with the ACIR and CCIR to implement policies adopted by the Corporation. Learn more about these committees and Yale’s ethical investment policies.
Recently, climate change has been on the forefront of social responsibility concerns, stimulating many campus discussions. In August 2014, Chief Investment Officer David Swensen mailed a letter to each of Yale's investment managers to articulate the Investments Office's thoughts about the investment implications of climate change. Each manager was subsequently engaged by Investments Office staff in a discussion about the implications of climate change on their portfolio. Subsequently, the New York Times published an article on David Swensen's letter. Less than two years later, David Swensen presented an update on the results of his letter to the Yale Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility, about which the New York Times once again reported.
Yale's Wind Farm
Investments in wind can provide substantial economic returns to the Endowment while helping the University achieve its sustainability goals. Beginning in 2007, Yale's managers, in conjunction with local wind power development firms, identified several sites with attractive capacity factors. The University's partners initiated development on a handful of sites. One site in particular, Record Hill Wind, is fully operational and was transferred from the Endowment to the University, and is now maintained by the Yale Office of Facilities. This project will help meet Yale's goal of reducing 2020 emissions to 10 percent below 1990 levels, furthering Yale in its quest to become the world's greenest university.