Friday, August 30, 2013

Harvard's New VP for Sustainable Investment Proves that Students can Change the World

Harvard has hired its first vice president for sustainable investment to help oversee the university's $30 billion endowment. Jameela Pedicini was hired in the wake of a student-led activist campaign demanding the school divest its holdings in fossil fuel companies.

As reported by Fossil Free Campaign leader 350.org, more than 300 colleges and universities are now demanding that their schools withdraw their endowment holdings from companies involved in oil, gas and coal.

The campaign has identified over 200 publicly traded companies that are tied to fossil fuels. The goal of the campaign is to encourage schools to divest from companies that are associated with oil, gas and coal.

Pedicini will have a number of responsibilities including research in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Her work at the Harvard Management Company (the firm that oversees the university's endowment) will include the provision of guidance on current industry practices and possible partnerships related to ESG investing. She will also will support Harvard University’s Corporation Committee on Shared Responsibility.

Prior to joining Harvard, Pedicini was the investment officer for global governance with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. She also developed sustainable investment best practices as part of the management team at Calpers’ global peer exchange which oversees assets in excess of $1.5 trillion.

The hiring of Pedicini as Harvards new sustainable investment VP illustrates the power of student to change the world. 

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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