Resolution: UA R6: Integrating Sustainable Investments into Endowment Reports

ActionAcknowledged by the President

Dear Gabe,

Thank you for submitting UA Resolution #6: “Integrating Sustainable Investments into Endowment Reports” for my consideration. I appreciate the University Assembly’s involvement in ensuring Cornell remains a leader on sustainability issues.

This resolution has much in common with Student Assembly (SA) Resolution #10, including the final three resolved clauses, which speak to the disclosure of sustainability investment figures, integrating relevant energy investment considerations into Climate Action Plan updates, and forwarding the resolution to the President’s Sustainable Campus Committee (PSCC), the Senior Leaders Climate Action Group (SLCAG), and the Board of Trustees. My response to SA Resolution #10 will answer three of the clauses in the UA resolution.

With respect to the resolution’s first two resolved clauses designed to improve our STARS rating, which were not, per se, addressed in SA Resolution #10, I note that improving the university’s STARS “Investment and Finance” rating for the sake of ratings alone will not necessarily help us make meaningful progress toward our sustainability goals. The resolution calls for pursuing the “investment disclosure” credit, an undertaking that would garner one point, and creating a committee on investor responsibility, which could garner two points. Although these activities would elevate our STARS score somewhat, neither would make Cornell’s practices more sustainable, and they would add appreciably to the trustees’ duties. Rather than focus on the evaluations of an outside program like STARS, I prefer to direct our efforts toward meeting the meaningful goals laid out in Cornell’s own Climate Action Plan.

I want to reaffirm Cornell’s commitment to working diligently toward achieving our goal of carbon neutrality by 2035, as evidenced, for example, by our efforts to advance innovative new solutions such as Earth Source Heat.

Thank you again for submitting this resolution and for advocating for more sustainable practices at Cornell.


Martha Pollack

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