You have /5 articles left.
Sign up for a free account or log in.

American University has divested from public fossil fuel investments in its endowment, it announced today.

The private nonprofit university in Washington, D.C., sold $350 million in commingled funds and index funds to complete the divestment. It reinvested proceeds from those sales into other investments not including fossil fuel holdings.

American has not had direct investments in fossil fuel funds for the last several years. But it reports having $12.9 million worth of exposure in fossil fuels in its public endowment portfolio through commingled and index funds.

The university isn’t aware of any companies listed on the Carbon Underground 200 list of coal and gas producers in its private investment portfolio, but it acknowledges that it may have had “small and short-lived positions” at some point.

“Our actions, from reaching carbon neutrality to the Board’s commitment to evolving our investments, will continue to serve as a model for sustainability, further demonstrating our leadership on the issue and how our community can make an impact in the global fight against climate change,” the university’s president, Sylvia M. Burwell, said in a statement.

American has been weighing fossil fuel investment issues since 2014, when it created a special fossil-free fund within its endowment. In recent years, it has been divesting its public endowment portfolio, making sure new investments come with comparable or lower fees compared to those being divested.