As the University’s largest financial asset, the endowment is used to permanently support and sustain the University’s mission by funding financial aid, scholarships, faculty positions, research activities, and more. As a result, it is critical that any exclusion decisions be based on thoughtful analysis, substantial community input, and careful consideration of potential impacts.
On February 28, 2020, the University of Pittsburgh’s Board of Trustees adopted a Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) screening process. This process will consider persistent societal concerns raised by students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community .
In March 2020, the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Finance established an Environmental, Social, and Governance Policy that will guide the University as it makes investment decisions regarding its endowment. The ESG policy will enable fund managers for Pitt’s endowment to consider a range of factors when evaluating investment risk. Those factors could include energy efficiency and use, hazardous waste management, water and land management, data protection and privacy , labor standards, product safety, regulatory compliance, business ethics, and adherence to auditing standards.
The Office of Finance’s first annual Environmental, Social, and Governance Report, which will highlight the policy’s impact and application as it relates to the University’s Consolidated Endowment Fund, is slated for release in December 2021, for the period ending June 30, 2021.
The actions above build on the July 2019 report of the University of Pittsburgh’s Socially Responsible Investment Committee, which Chancellor Patrick Gallagher addressed in an August 2019 letter detailing the university’s next steps towards considering sustainable investment strategies.