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Campus & Community

Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility releases annual report

2 min read

Advised by 12-member committee made up of Harvard faculty, students, and alumni

The 2019 Annual Report of the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (CCSR), a subcommittee of the President and Fellows, is now available on the Shareholder Responsibility Committees’ website.

The report summarizes the CCSR’s work in 2019. The CCSR receives advice from the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility, a 12-member committee made up of Harvard faculty, students, and alumni. Historically, the chief responsibility of the ACSR has been to review individual shareholder resolutions raising issues of corporate social responsibility at publicly traded companies in which Harvard owns shares, and to make recommendations to the CCSR, which is responsible for final decisions about how the University should vote on those resolutions.

Recently, Harvard Management Company (HMC) has come to rely increasingly on pooled investments and commingled funds typically managed by outside investment firms, rather than directly owning stock in individual companies, as the means to achieve wide exposure to public equity markets. This shift in HMC’s investment approach led to a review and reorientation of the ACSR’s role (for more information, see “Taking Corporate Social Responsibility Seriously,” Harvard Gazette, Sept. 18, 2019). Accordingly, the ACSR has now turned its principal focus to developing a set of guidelines that can help inform Harvard’s external investment managers, and other interested investors, as they vote on a broad array of shareholder resolutions. The ACSR also continues to make recommendations on how Harvard should vote on shareholder resolutions for any public companies that remain as direct holdings of HMC.

Within the report is a summary of the ACSR’s work in 2018-2019, along with an overview of guidance on proxy voting guidelines. The report also includes subject-specific guidelines that were shared with external managers, as well as summaries of its deliberations on proxies for shares directly held by Harvard.