Investing in Change

2 March 2022
Carleton's wind turbine

Approved by the Board of Trustees in May 2020, Carleton’s new policy of considering the environmental, social, and governing practices of its investment partners — known as ESG in the financial world — is starting to effect change. “After a full fiscal year of formally adopting ESG, it’s created a constructive dialogue with investment managers,” says Kelsey Deshler, Carleton’s chief investment officer.

These standards take into account a number of factors, including family leave policies and environmental sustainability. Since Deshler joined the college’s investment office in 2018, its investments in traditional energy have decreased as investments in wind and solar have increased.

While ESG is growing more common, when the trustees initially considered it — based on recommendations from the Carleton Responsible Investment Committee (CRIC) — only about 20 percent of the college’s peer institutions had ESG policies in place. “Any way in which the Investment Office and the Investment Committee are thinking about making Carleton’s investments align with its values is welcomed,” says Daniel Groll, associate professor of philosophy and coadviser of CRIC.

“If firms want to work with Carleton, they need ethical practices and policies,” says Deshler.

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