Harvard maintains a pair of committees that together play a central role in the University’s consideration of matters of shareholder responsibility. These are the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (CCSR) and the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (ACSR).
The Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (CCSR) and the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (ACSR) together play a central role in determining the University’s consideration of shareholder responsibility matters, particularly those that touch on environmental and social issues.
The CCSR consists of several members of the Harvard Corporation. Acting on behalf of the President and Fellows, it oversees the consistent application of University policy with respect to shareholder responsibility.
The CCSR is advised by the ACSR, which is made up of Harvard faculty, students, and alumni. Historically, the chief responsibility of the ACSR has been to review shareholder resolutions on environmental and social issues at publicly traded companies in which Harvard directly owns shares, and to make recommendations to the CCSR, which then decides how the University should vote on those resolutions. While the ACSR continues to review resolutions as they arise, and while the CCSR continues to vote on them, changes in Harvard Management Company’s (HMC) investment strategy have led to a shift in the focus of the ACSR’s work.
In recent years, HMC has come to rely on pooled investments and commingled funds typically managed by outside investment firms, rather than directly owning stock in individual companies. Accordingly, the ACSR is now increasingly focused on developing proxy voting guidelines to help inform Harvard’s external investment managers, and other interested investors, as they vote on a broad array of shareholder resolutions. The ACSR proposes these guidelines for approval by the CCSR.
This move toward developing broadly available proxy voting guidelines is part of a larger commitment to considering environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in the investment decision-making process. For example, in consultation with the CCSR, HMC participates in collaborative engagements that supplement its work with peers and investors to advance shared goals. These initiatives include those organized by the PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment), Ceres Investor Network, Climate Action 100+, and CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project). Further information on HMC’s approach to sustainable investing appears on the HMC website.
In April 2020, following deliberation by the CCSR, the Harvard Corporation instructed HMC to set the Harvard endowment on a path to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the portfolio by 2050 – a first among higher education endowments. In February 2021, HMC issued its first Climate Report describing initial progress toward this goal. In September 2021, in consultation with the CCSR, President Bacow issued a statement on climate change that, among other things, addresses related matters of investment strategy.
From time to time, the CCSR has also addressed other questions of investment policy. Examples include the 1989 decision to divest from companies engaged in the manufacture of tobacco products, as well as decisions in 2005 and 2006 to divest from certain companies involved in oil production activities with the government of Sudan (which had been found to be engaging in genocide). Occasionally, the CCSR seeks advice on such questions from the ACSR or others.
CCSR Membership 2022-2023
The CCSR includes the following members of the Corporation:
Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuéllar (Chair)
The ACSR includes four faculty, four students, and four alumni. Faculty and student membership is rotated among the schools.
- Deforestation Risk in Operations and Supply Chains
- Methane Emissions and Reduction
- Reporting on Climate Change
- Reporting on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Goals
- Reporting on Renewable Energy Goals
- Waste Reduction – Plastic and Polystyrene Packaging and Products
- Water Risk in Operations and Supply Chains
- Climate Commitments
- Anti-Genocide Policies
- Human Rights Policy and Supply Chain Due Diligence
- Civil Rights or Racial Equity Audit/Analysis
Labor and Workforce
- Reporting on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Reporting on Gender-, Race-, and/or Ethnicity-based Pay Disparities
Technology and Media
Committees on Shareholder Responsibility
17 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138