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University Statement on Divestment from Major Coal Producers

December 12, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Dennis O’Shea
Office: 443-997-9912 / Cell: 410-499-7460
dro@jhu.edu  @JHUmediareps

The Johns Hopkins University will divest from separately managed investments in thermal coal following a vote from its board of trustees.

The board’s vote on Friday directs the university to stop buying the stocks and bonds of companies that produce coal for electric power as a major part of their business. It also directs the university to sell from its endowment or other investments any securities of those companies it directly owns.

This decision aligns Johns Hopkins with a relatively small group of colleges and universities that have made public commitments to divestment because of serious concerns related to the environmental and public health effects of climate change.

The vote marks only the third time in the university’s history that the trustees have barred a particular type of investment because of broad social concerns. In the 1980s, Johns Hopkins divested from companies doing business in the then-apartheid state of South Africa. In 1991, the trustees voted to end all direct investment in tobacco company stocks and bonds.

Specifically, Friday’s decision bars future purchase of stocks or bonds of companies that earn more than 35 percent of their revenue from thermal coal, the type burned to generate electricity. The university also will not buy into any partnerships with 35 percent or more of their total investment in companies whose primary business is to produce thermal coal. Action to divest will be taken expediently on a schedule that minimizes financial loss.

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