In April 2017, the Board of Trustees appointed a Board Fossil Fuels and Climate Impact Task Force to study the issue of divestment from fossil fuels and to make recommendations by the April 2018 Board of Trustees meeting.

The task force examined ways in which Grinnell College can have a positive impact on the critical global issue of climate change, including but not limited to divestment. The goal was to explore these important topics in an intellectually serious and transparent way, beginning the summer of 2017 and continuing into the fall.

The task force’s report and recommendations were presented to the full Board during its spring meetings on April 28.

The task force’s major recommendations were to:

  • take significant actions on campus to reduce our individual and institutional carbon footprint and enhance sustainability efforts through implementation of the College’s Sustainability Plan,
  • create a standing campus Sustainability Committee comprised of students, faculty, and staff that would make annual progress reports,
  • maintain the current investment policy and not divest the College’s limited fossil fuel holdings,
  • charge the Investment Committee to increase shareholder engagement action and the application of environmental and social criteria in the management of the College’s endowment,
  • assess the feasibility of creating a separate fund for donors wishing to contribute to a fossil fuel-free fund in the endowment.

The Board has authority for making a final decision on task force recommendations. Trustees engaged in extensive discussion about the process and conclusions. They strongly affirmed the task force’s work and voted to endorse its recommendations. The Board commended task force members and all who participated, for the many months of unbiased, intellectually rigorous, transparent and inclusive work devoted to fulfilling their charge. They noted that while the task force’s work has been successfully completed, implementation of the recommendations will require commitment, comprehensive action, and adaptability from Grinnell leaders and campus community members.