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The Yale University Board of Trustees recently approved a new set of ethical investing guidelines for the university’s $31.2 billion endowment.

The five principles establish a set of standards for the activities, behaviors and characteristics of fossil fuel companies that would warrant divestment, according to a press release.

Using the new guidelines, Yale’s Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility is planning to make its first set of divestment recommendations to the board in June.

“The adoption of these ethical investment principles exemplifies the university’s deep commitment to promoting the development and use of clean, sustainable, and renewable energy,” Peter Salovey, Yale’s president, said in a statement. “Climate change is an imminent threat to the planet, and tackling it in an effective way requires difficult but necessary choices.”

Yale students have advocated for fossil fuel divestment and ethical investing practices for years. More than 40 students were arrested in 2018 during a protest at the university’s investment office. They had been calling on the office to divest from Puerto Rican debt and fossil fuel companies.

In order to remain eligible for investment by Yale, companies must:

  • Avoid exploration and production of fossil fuels that generate high levels of greenhouse gas emissions relative to energy supplied as compared with feasible alternatives.
  • Follow best industry practices to minimize greenhouse gas emissions in their operations.
  • Support meaningful and effective government policies that address the threat of climate change.
  • Support accurate information about climate science and climate change.
  • Be transparent with Yale and its investment managers about their activities related to climate change.