Breaking: Harvard announces plans towards divestment!

As of the beginning of the 2021-22 academic year, President Larry Bacow's office released a statement asserting that the Harvard Management Company "has been reducing its exposure to fossil fuels" and "does not intend to make such investments in the future." See the original message here.

Reproduced in full below, the HFD published the following open letter in response, sent to the Crimson on Sept. 21, 2021. Please follow the link at the bottom to add your signature to the letter.

To President Bacow and the Fellows of Harvard College:

Thank you for your recent statement regarding Harvard’s response to the climate crisis. We appreciate and commend you for your acknowledgement that fossil fuel investments are imprudent, and for your pledge to stop investing in companies that explore for new fossil fuel reserves.

Your new position is an important step and a testament to the power of sustained social justice activism. It is also a reminder of how much we owe to the student activists of Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, and to student activists on campuses around this country and around the world. They have helped us understand the urgency of the crisis and the responsibility we have, in our positions of privilege and power, to act commensurately.

At the same time, as with all aspects of Harvard’s climate action plan, transparency regarding specific plans and a firm timeline is critical. Your statement says nothing about continued investments in fossil fuel companies that generate profits from the extraction and sale of fossil fuels as long as they do not “explore for new reserves.” According to these criteria, the endowment might continue to invest, for example, in the destruction of indigenous lands and waters for the construction of fracked gas pipelines. Also, the “less than 2% of the endowment” still invested in fossil fuels through private equity funds translates to over $800 million supporting industries that continue to harm our health and our planet. We feel it is important for Harvard to provide deadlines for divestment of these funds as well.

We hope you will address these concerns with the transparency and forthrightness that Harvard leadership, at its best, exemplifies.                                  


Joyce Chaplin
James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History

Scott Edwards
Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology

James Recht, MD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Caren Solomon, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

for Harvard Faculty for Divestment (

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