Monday, March 5, 2007

Brown Signs on to SRI

Z reports that the Brown Corporation has agreed to start a Social Choice Fund for donors who seek an environmental screen on their contributions. Brown is joining Hampshire, Williams, Vassar Mount Holyoke, and Brandeis but is the first Ivy to do so. According to the article, their opposition was the implication that in embracing socially responsible investments it somehow suggested that their portfolio was invested in a socially irresponsible manner. Just like FairTrade coffee implies that uncertified coffee is UnfairlyTraded, I suppose.
In any event, kudos for Brown. It will probably help them attract more money, so it both virtuous and a good marketing move. Universities were very effective in using their funds to bring pressure on South Africa to end apartheid, and I imagine we'll be seeing more pressure on universities to divest from any funds profiting from Sudan.
Social Choice Fund does seem like a funny name for this sort of thing. It rather sounds like you should have your free pick of friends, not investment screens.

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