Harvard's second climate report remains mostly substance-free
Harvard Management Company (HMC) manages the Harvard portfolio, including asset allocation, manager selection and performance evaluation. As part of the University's commitment for the endowment to be net zero by 2050, HMC publishes an annual Climate Report on the progress it is making, the second one of which was released in February.
While this report comprises the most detailed accounting HMC provides the public on the issue of University investment and the climate, it remains almost entirely lacking in substance. There are very general statements on holdings, partnerships, and long-term promises of progress. But meaningful details on what those partnerships are accomplishing, what short-term milestones will be met by when to ensure the 2050 goal is met, where HMC is running into challenges, and how it is ramping its organization to meet the task at hand are all missing. A colleague described this second report as "quite a bit of fluff, expanded into wordier fluff than the previous report."
While more may be going on internal to HMC, my view is that a "behind the curtain" approach is not a tenable way to garner either the trust or the confidence of Harvard students, faculty, or alumni that the path to net zero is well-defined and being expeditiously traversed. Earth Track's detailed review of the second Climate Report, in combination with reviews we've done on the first Climate Report and the Harvard's portfolio (links accessible at the bottom of this page), provide many reasonable, implementable steps that would both build that confidence and make achievement of the net zero commitment more likely.