Committee for Investor Responsibility Causes Investor Responsibility

Cool update from Corey Guilmette ’13, who has previously been honored for his involvement in responsible investing, and the rest of the Wesleyan Committee for Investor Responsibility: Wesleyan is investing $500,000 from the university’s  General Operating Account into local community banks. This is part of wider CIR efforts to help Wesleyan pursue more socially responsible investment practices. More detail (no joke) about these investments—and what it took to make them happen—from Guilmette on behalf of the CIR below:

The Wesleyan Finance Office in coordination with the Wesleyan Committee for Investor Responsibility (CIR) is preparing to renew two, 6-month Certificates of Deposit (CDs) totaling $500,00 deposited in Liberty Bank and the Community’s Bank of Bridgeport. The $500,000 investment came from Wesleyan’s General Operating Account (essentially a big bank account Wesleyan uses to pay for day-to-day expenses).

The university has moved $250,000 into both Liberty Bank (Middletown, CT) and the Community’s Bank (Bridgeport, CT), which were chosen by the Wesleyan Committee for Investor Responsibility (CIR) as the two banks near Wesleyan most committed to serving disadvantaged communities. Wesleyan’s initial investment is one of the largest among the very small group of universities nationwide that have made similar investments. This initiative is part of a series of efforts undertaken by the CIR to help Wesleyan pursue more socially responsible investment practices.

The CIR hopes to expand upon this investment in the future, possibly investing in different asset classes and other areas that will allow for greater community impact. Much thanks goes out to Nate Peters, Associate Vice President of Finance, who was willing to put in the extra work to make these investments possible. The complete Community Investment Resolution passed by the CIR, including the methodology used for selecting the banks, can be read here.

Additionally, the CIR worked to develop proxy voting guidelines. Every year the CIR receives shareholder resolutions on behalf of Wesleyan from the companies in which the University directly invests. These resolutions ask Wesleyan to vote on company practices, such as executive compensation. The CIR’s proxy voting guidelines, which can be read here, govern how the CIR votes on these resolutions.

This coming year the CIR is hoping to directly engage with companies in the area of energy efficiency that Wesleyan invests in through its endowment . Through this engagement the committee hopes to encourage companies to create energy efficiency guidelines, increasing profitability while simultaneously reducing emissions. For a complete summary of the CIR’s activities during the 2011-2012 year, you can read the End of Year Report. If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to post them in the comments section or email cguilmette(at)wesleyan(dot)edu.