Ohio University

Investments

Below is the Investments section of the 2021 Ohio University Sustainability & Climate Action Plan. 

Investments category, SCAP

Comments and responses from public forums on the Sustainability & Climate Action Plan Investments section:

Do the goals, metrics and targets in the this category of the draft 2021 OHIO Sustainability & Climate Action Plan seem appropriate to you?

Response

The university should be aiming to sustainably and responsibly invest as much of its endowment as possible. 0.6% increase in 9 years is not enough. There should be a 5-year ESG investment plan for the entire endowment

We will share your comment with our Director of Investments.

1.2% ESG investments by 2026 is an inadequate and irresponsible target. The longer we wait to divest from fossil fuels, the more damage we cause to the world and the more financial risk we take on. The data shows that ESG investing is financially sound, but even if it wasn’t, our money shouldn’t be used to finance human suffering. 2026 is a long way away already, and the goal should be 100% as soon as possible.

We will share your comment with our Director of Investments.

Do the strategies to reach the targets in this category of the draft 2021 OHIO Sustainability & Climate Action Plan seem appropriate to you? - No. If not, please give explanation or suggest alternatives below.

Response

No, while it’s important for students to have a say, there is a significant distinction between giving students a day and placing the responsibility for finding the way forward on them.

While you are correct that additional strategies are needed to achieve the aspirational goal of 100% of investments supporting sustainable economic activity, continuing the student sustainable investing program is an important intermediate strategy for this 5 year plan. The student sustainable investing program was started as a pilot to show that sustainable investing is a viable strategy for University investments. Once sufficient data is in place, additional investment strategies can be employed. Please feel free to suggest some!


Those investing Ohio University's financial resources must meet fiduciary responsibilities, and one of the ways to meet fiduciary responsibilities is to invest considering Enivronmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ratings.  Investments with high ESG ratings typically are lower risk, higher yield, and less subject to negative public attention.

One benchmark in the 2011 Ohio University Sustainability Plan addressed sustainable investments.  Benchmark 21 reads: "Assess endowment investment in sustainable corporations and entities and recommend strategies for increasing investment in these corporations and entities."

The Ohio University student investing groups, the Fixed Income Management Group and the Equity Management Group, conducted a pilot study of ESG investing in 2017.  Their results showed better performance when investing in securities with higher ESG ratings.

Ohio University student sustainable investing guidelines.

2019 Article about Sustainable Investing Programs in top business schools from the Wall Street Journal.