Back in 2019, we reported that a group of activists was working to reduce Harvard University’s investments in fossil fuels. Today, we are happy to report that the school has announced it will divest its nearly $42 billion endowment from fossil fuels.
Announced by university president Lawrence Bacow, the Harvard Management Company, which oversees the endowment, has already begun the divestment process. According to Bacow, fossil fuel investments make up less than two percent of their holdings, and the university has not forged any new partnerships with fossil fuel portfolios since 2019.
The endowment is now in “runoff mode,” and will end investment as the remaining partnerships are liquidated. “Given the need to decarbonize the economy and our responsibility as fiduciaries to make long-term investment decisions that support our teaching and research mission, we do not believe such investments are prudent,“ said Barcow in a written statement.
This divestment is thanks to the tireless work of activists and pressure from the Massachusetts state legislature. Harvard has by far the largest endowment of any university in the world and environmentalists hope this move will motivate other schools to follow suit.