Penn needs strong long-term endowment returns to support both current and future generations. Thoughtfully transitioning the portfolio to net-zero carbon emissions is not only consistent with this mission, but will also be key to achieving it.
In April 2021 the Penn Office of Investments announced its goal of reducing the net greenhouse gas emissions from Penn’s endowment investments to zero by 2050.
To maximize the impact of our efforts, we will pursue our net-zero goal in a manner that contributes to the decarbonization of the real economy. We will therefore engage with the investment managers with whom we partner, lending our voice and support as they encourage their portfolio companies to develop and follow sustainable decarbonization plans. We expect that progress toward the endowment’s net-zero goal will primarily occur through emissions reductions at the many hundreds of companies in which the endowment is invested.
In addition, the Office is actively pursuing investment strategies that will help fund the transition from a high-carbon to low-carbon economy. The energy transition will require huge amounts of capital, creating significant investment opportunities over the coming decades. We are enthusiastic about the opportunity to make investments that not only generate strong returns for Penn but also contribute to real world decarbonization.
Achieving net zero is a massive and complex goal. We are fortunate to be able to collaborate with Penn faculty experts, with our investment partners, and with other institutional investors who share similar aims. Achieving our goal will also inevitably depend on the commitment of governments to meet emissions reductions goals, on the development of technologies that will support a decarbonized economy, and on significant changes in consumer behavior.
We are excited to be part of the global effort to solve the greatest challenge of our generation. We look forward to updating the community over time as we progress in our overall efforts.
Information and Updates
Following the announcement of the Office’s net zero goal, Chief Investment Officer Peter Ammon spoke with Penn Today about initiative, the challenges that will need to be overcome, and how the endowment can have an impact on real world decarbonization.
The Office of Investments issued its first Net Zero Update in March 2022.
Other University Resources
Learn More About Penn’s Sustainability Initiatives