Columbia Divestment

How should Columbia University manage its active endowment holdings in fossil fuel-related companies?

Bruce Usher  | Fall 2022
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Columbia’s Investment Management Company is tasked with generating risk-adjusted returns over the market rate to ensure that the university’s endowment has longevity to support its operations and research indefinitely. Recently, as students, alumni and stakeholders have voiced concern that its $11bn endowment portfolio – along with its leadership as a top university – should be managed with a greater social purpose in mind, particularly as it relates to investments in fossil fuels. A subcommittee is formed to deliberate the best way to address the ESG and ethical considerations of its portfolio holdings while still maintaining an above-market return profile. In this case, students learn about the management of an educational endowment, pressing ethical issues in investment management, and socially impactful investment considerations. Students will be tasked with developing a sustainable investment strategy.

Case ID: 230301

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