Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 6-11-2017


Jenny Isler


The environmental and social risks of climate change are well known and perhaps inevitable. The economic and financial risks are less so. The many financial risks associated with climate change embedded in endowment portfolio fossil fuel holdings are leading many institutional stakeholders to enter into dialogue and take action. Divestment is emerging as an effective strategy for limiting portfolio exposure and tackling climate change itself.

Our team’s goals were to assess whether the Clark University endowment portfolio faces any of these risks and evaluate the impacts on asset values. Our findings show that the Clark endowment does face these same climate change related portfolio risks where fossil fuel assets are concerned, that those assets represent approximately $37.2M or 12.11% of the endowment, and that continued investment fails to prevent greater harm or risk to Clark. Our analysis and subsequent recommendations will explain the financial risks Clark fossil fuel assets face as well as options to reduce exposure, ensuring the future of the endowment and the University. The research was done in two phases. Phase One focused on understanding Clark’s institutional mission and values, history of shareholder responsibility, and estimating Clark’s fossil fuel holdings. This was accomplished through interviews with key Clark administrators and staff, literature review, and quantitative analysis of the Clark endowment portfolio for second quarter, 2014. Phase Two focused on evaluating short and long term risks that Clark fossil fuel assets face, research into actions being taken by institutions with similar exposure, and policy options for trustees.


Related slide decks and source information available upon request.

Did the research upon which this submission is based involve human subjects/participants?


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.