University Continues Progress toward Eliminating Fossil Fuel Investments

GW remains on track to remove 100 percent of fossil fuel investments from its endowment by 2025.

April 28, 2023

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(Jordan Tovin/GW Today)

Since the George Washington University’s June 2020 announcement that it would divest the endowment from businesses that derive the majority of their revenue from the extraction of fossil fuels, GW has continued to make progress and remains on track to meet its goal by 2025.

During fiscal 2022, the university transitioned several of its investment strategies to exclude fossil fuel companies, and the endowment’s estimated exposure to fossil fuel companies is now less than two percent of total assets, according to Strategic Investment Group, the university’s outsourced chief investment officer.

“The George Washington University’s commitment to eliminating fossil fuel investments from the endowment remains strong,” said President Mark S. Wrighton. “The university has made considerable progress, and we are pleased to advance closer to our divestment goal while also taking steps to support environmental, social, and governance principles through our investments.”

Over the past two years, GW has worked with one of its fund managers to create a new fossil fuel free strategy, which is now available to other investors. The university also recently invested with a fund manager that engages directly with companies to drive them toward net zero, which the United Nations defines as “cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible, with any remaining emissions re-absorbed from the atmosphere.”

GW has no history of making direct public investments in fossil fuel companies, and since 2013 has not made commitments to invest in private funds that focus on businesses that derive the majority of their revenues from the extraction of fossil fuels. Any investments in such funds continue to be sold as fund managers transition remaining holdings. GW’s divestment commitment augments its long history of sustainability leadership in its teaching, research and operations.