07 May 2014:
Stanford Drops Coal Stocks
From Its $18.7 Billion Endowment Portfolio
Fossil Free Stanford
Stanford has become the first major U.S. university to divest its shares in coal-mining companies from its endowment funds, lending support to a growing nationwide movement calling for universities and pension funds to drop investments in fossil fuel companies. Citing guidelines that allow trustees to weigh whether “corporate policies or practices create substantial social injury” when choosing investments for the university's $18.7 billion endowment, the board decided, after five months of deliberation, to purge stakes in up to 100 companies worldwide that derive profits primarily from coal mining. A Stanford spokeswoman said that coal companies constitute a small fraction of the university's total endowment investments,
“but a small percentage is still a substantial amount of money." Board members said their decision was made partly because coal is the most carbon-intensive of any major fossil fuel and that less carbon-intensive energy sources are available. The university also is not dependent on coal or coal-derived products. Other fossil fuels do not yet meet these standards, but those investments will likely be reviewed in the future, the university said. Advocates praise the move as a major milestone in the divestment movement and predict it will put pressure on other major universities to follow suit.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.