GW Decides to Eliminate All Fossil Fuel Investments from Endowment Fund

Milken School
December 08, 2020

The George Washington University Board of Trustees voted in mid-2020 to not make any new investments in businesses that derive the majority of their revenue from the extraction of fossil fuels. In addition, the University has decided to eliminate 100 percent of all such investments from its endowment over the next five years. 

 

Since 2015, GW has made substantial progress in divesting the endowment from funds that focus on the extraction of fossil fuels, reducing the investments by 89 percent. To date. GW President Thomas LeBlanc, a member of the SEAS faculty, said “(w)ith this decisive action, the George Washington University demonstrates its leadership in addressing the global threat of climate change.”

 

Science and Engineering hallEarlier this year, the GW Board of Trustees created the Environmental, Social and Governance Responsibility Task Force to establish a long-term, proactive approach to managing ESG responsibility. In addition to recommending the board divest the university endowment from companies that focus on the extraction of fossil fuels, the task force made recommendations around campus sustainability, carbon neutrality, responsible investing and academics. The task force, made up of trustees, students, alumni, faculty and staff, sought out feedback from the broader GW community in a series of town halls and online forums.

 

In response to the ESG Responsibility Task Force proposal, GW also committed to accelerating plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and release a plan for climate resilience for the university’s operations. Previously, GW had targeted 2040 for carbon neutrality. As part of the school’s bicentennial celebration in 2021, GW is aspiring to go beyond carbon neutrality post 2030 and remove all the greenhouse gas emissions the university has produced since its 1821 founding.