Harvard University is making plans to shift its $42 billion endowment away from direct and indirect investments in the fossil fuel industry, the school’s president, Larry Bacow, said in a letter on Thursday. In place of fossil fuel investments, according to Bacow, the Harvard Management Company, which runs the endowment, will build a new portfolio to support the transition to a fully green economy. The news was met with jubilation by campus activists, who have been publicly pressuring the university administration on the matter for years. “This is what they told us for a decade they couldn’t do,” Divest Harvard organizer Connor Chung told The Harvard Crimson. “And today, the students, faculty, and alumni have been vindicated.”
Harvard’s commitment to “decarbonize the economy,” in Bacow’s words, represents the fullest divestment from fossil fuels by an Ivy League school yet. Of the others, most have hemmed and hawed their way towards divestment. Cornell issued a moratorium on fossil fuels in 2020; Brown announced it would sell its direct investments in the same year; Columbia declared non-investment in oil and gas in the first months of 2021; and Yale and Princeton have both agreed to partially divest. Princeton and Dartmouth have as of yet made no divestment moves whatsoever.