Sustainable Investment Funds
A commitment to engagement with the Brown community has created new sustainable investment opportunities.
In managing and constructing the endowment's portfolio, the Brown Investment Office incorporates Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria. In addition to these efforts, for community members with a specific focus on environmental considerations, Brown maintains two endowed funds that provide options for donating toward sustainable investing, the Brown University Sustainable Investment Fund (BUSIF) and the Social Choice Fund. The Investment Office also supports a student organization dedicated to educating its members about sustainable investing, the Socially Responsible Investment Fund (SRIF).
Established in 2017, the Brown University Sustainable Investment Fund (BUSIF) offers members of the Brown community an opportunity to support investment in activities dedicated to sustainability. The fund is distinctive in being the only giving vehicle at Brown that allows direct contributions to the endowment at any dollar amount.
The fund is a direct result of collaboration between the University and its community. Over the course of the 2017 fiscal year, the Investment Office worked to develop the fund with the Office of the President, the Investment Committee of the Corporation, Brown’s Socially Responsible Investment Fund, students from the course “The Theory and Practice of Sustainable Investing,” and other members of the Brown community.
BUSIF embraces Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations, promoting active solutions to the challenges of climate change, among other environmental and societal concerns, while seeking superior financial performance. The fund is part of the University’s efforts to promote sustainability across all of its categories of activity as outlined in Brown’s strategic plan.
Characteristics of BUSIF
BUSIF funds are currently invested with the Parnassus Endeavor Fund. At the time of its founding, the Investment Office worked with University administrators and students to establish the following characteristics of the fund:
» Meets Environmental, Social and Governance investment criteria
The fund shall invest in companies with strong ESG criteria that seek to foster sustainability solutions. Environmental considerations include pollution mitigation and renewable energy development, while social considerations include workplace conditions, human rights, and diversity. Good governance practices seek to identify well-run companies with robust checks and balances.
The fund shall be accessible to the entire Brown community by allowing donations of any size, i.e. there is no minimum amount for a donation.
» Supports sustainability at Brown
The Fund's payout shall be at the discretion of the University administration, aimed toward sustainability projects. This fund is part of Brown’s efforts to promote sustainability across all of its activities, as outlined in the University’s strategic plan.
» Fossil-fuel free
The fund shall not be invested in companies engaged in the extraction, exploration, production, manufacturing or refining of fossil fuels. In embracing ESG considerations, the fund shall promote active solutions to the challenges of climate change, among other environmental and societal concerns, while seeking superior financial performance.
In 2007, the Corporation of Brown University approved the creation of a fund to provide donors with the option to contribute to an environmentally responsible investment vehicle, the Social Choice Fund. In doing so, the Corporation stipulated that the fund have an environmentally responsible focus. The fund’s portfolio was chosen from a list of investment funds that met the Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies (ACCRIP) requirements of a proactive and environmentally focused fund.
The Brown Socially Responsible Investment Fund (SRIF) is a student-led investment fund managing around $165,000 of the University’s endowment. The fund was established in 2009.
The student fund managers screen Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria alongside financial performance. By investing in financial instruments deemed socially responsible, SRIF educates its members on topics pertaining to finance, social entrepreneurship, corporate governance, management and business practice.