Posted: January 3, 2012
AMHERST, MA — Hampshire College, through a vote of the board of trustees, has adopted a new Policy on Environmental, Social and Governance Investing that is expected to be one of the most comprehensive and forward-looking in the country.
Recognized as an institution that holds social responsibility and sustainability as core values, Hampshire sought to adopt guidelines at the forefront of socially responsible investing.
The ESG policy focuses on screening individual companies in which the College may invest, and provides guidance to the investment managers and consultants who invest College funds.
The policy states: “Business practices that include safe and supportive work environments, products that build economic strength, and activities that benefit the disadvantaged, including charitable giving, enhance the financial security and long-term sustainability of companies in which the College invests.” Whereas: “Poor business practices related to human rights, the workplace and the environment pose reputational, financial, operational and legal risks to the College’s investments and therefore the future financial security of the College.”
Under the policy, Hampshire favors investments in businesses that emphasize providing beneficial goods and services, pursuing research and development programs that hold promise for new products of social benefit and for increased employment prospects, maintaining fair labor practices, maintaining a safe and healthy work environment, demonstrating innovation in relation to environmental protection, using their power to enhance the quality of life for the underserved segments of our society and encourage local community reinvestment, and having a record of sustained support for higher education.
Hampshire will not favor investments in businesses that make nuclear, biological, or conventional weapons; have significant operations in countries with serious human rights violations; engage in unfair labor practices; discriminate by race, gender, ethnic origin, sexual preference, or disability; demonstrate substantially harmful environmental practices; market abroad products that are banned in the United States because of their impact on health or the environment; have markedly inferior occupational health and safety records; manufacture or market products that in normal use are unsafe; or those that refuse to make their performance records concerning these characteristics available upon reasonable request.