Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility releases report


Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard file photo

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The most recent report of the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (CCSR), a committee of the President and Fellows, is now available on the Shareholder Responsibility Committees’ website.

The report summarizes the work of the CCSR over the past two academic years. In fulfilling its responsibilities on matters of investor responsibility, the CCSR receives advice on certain matters from the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (ACSR), a 12-member committee made up of Harvard faculty, students, and alumni.

For much of its history, the ACSR focused predominantly on considering individual shareholder resolutions raising corporate social responsibility issues, and provided recommendations to the CCSR, which makes final decisions about how the University should vote its shares.

In recent years, Harvard Management Company has significantly diminished its ownership of stock in individual companies and has come increasingly to rely on pooled investments and commingled funds managed by outside investment firms as the means to achieve wide exposure to public equity markets. This shift in investment approach means that Harvard has fewer opportunities to vote on individual shareholder resolutions. Accordingly, the ACSR has 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.

Largely as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the committee’s work schedule, the new report covers the work for the committees for two academic years. In the period covered by the report, the committees developed nine new guidelines and considered three shareholder resolutions for directly held stocks. Issues addressed ranged widely from greenhouse gas emissions, to human rights policies, social media content, and corporate approach to diversity, inclusion and belonging. The report also contains brief summary information on other matters addressed by the CCSR.