Maybe that’s what the VSU Foundation wants to tell SAVE when they dine Monday: VSU gets it (even if Harvard doesn’t) that fossil fuels are a bad investment and solar is where the profits, students, and investors are.
Diane Cardwell wrote for DealBook 30 January 2014, Foundations Band Together to Get Rid of Fossil-Fuel Investments,
The move is a victory for a developing divestiture campaign that has found success largely among small colleges and environmentally conscious cities, but has not yet won over the wealthiest institutions like Harvard, Brown and Swarthmore.
But the participation of the foundations, including the Russell Family Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America and the John Merck Fund, is the largest commitment to the effort, and stems in part from a push among philanthropies to bring their investing in line with their missions.
“At a minimum, our grants should not be undercut by our investments,” said Ellen Dorsey, executive director of the Wallace Global Fund, which is practically divested of fossil fuels already and is coordinating the effort among foundations. “If you owned fossil fuels in your investment portfolio, it became increasingly clear to foundations that they own climate change, and they’re potentially profiting from those investments,” at the same time as they make grants to fight the issue.
VSU can continue echoing Harvard’s feeble excuse:
“Universities own a very small fraction of the market capitalization of fossil fuel companies,” Drew Faust, Harvard’s president wrote in a statement in October of the university’s decision not to sell. “If we and others were to sell our shares, those shares would no doubt find other willing buyers. Divestment is likely to have negligible financial impact on the affected companies. And such a strategy would diminish the influence or voice we might have with this industry.”
Even after Harvard SEAS has invented an organic battery that, if it pans out and goes commercial in a few years, could accelerate the already rocketing growth of solar power, which is adding about 65% more power every year, like compound interest. And solar stocks are also rocketing upwards, much faster than fossil fuel stocks.
Or VSU could set an example, getting in before Harvard:
In addition to the foundations, 22 cities, two counties, 20 religious organizations, nine colleges and universities and six other institutions had signed up to rid themselves of investments in fossil fuel companies, frequently defined as the top 200 coal-, oil- and gas-producing companies identified in a report from the Carbon Tracker Initiative based in London.
Will VSU Foundation take this opportunity to put VSU forward as an institution students want to attend and where investors want to invest, a place more socially responsible and investment-savvy than Harvard?