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Supporting sustainable investing through the Green Century Fund

McGill offers a new option for donors who would prefer that their investments not support the fossil fuel industry

Fingers holding a green leaf

The global challenges that threaten our planet are real and daunting. Now, more than ever, individuals and institutions recognize that they must create a sustainable future, one where the planet and all those who inhabit it can flourish.

At McGill, a longstanding commitment to making a positive contribution to environmental and social sustainability guides much of what we do: from the research we conduct, to how we operate our campuses, teach our students, and manage our physical, human and financial resources.

Recognizing that a growing number of philanthropists share this commitment to environmental sustainability, McGill is now offering an innovative investment option for donors making an endowed gift of $100,000 or more: They can choose to have their funds placed in McGill’s Green Century Fund, a segment of the University’s overall Endowment Fund whose holdings are invested in a well-diversified portfolio of global equities that exclude companies that produce or have reserves in fossil fuels, or that generate power using thermal coal.

“This is an exciting new option for donors who would prefer that their investments not support the fossil fuel industry,” says Marc Weinstein, Vice-Principal of University Advancement. “Whether they wish to directly support environmental research and scholarship, or their passion lies in any of the dozens of other worthwhile causes at McGill, the Green Century Fund ensures that their philanthropic investment can grow over time in a portfolio that is more in line with their preferences.”

When donors designate their gift to the Green Century Fund, any gains or losses in the Fund are pooled with the overall Endowment Fund to ensure a consistent rate of return among all endowed gifts.

Established by the Investment Committee of the University’s Board of Governors, on the recommendation of the Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility (CAMSR), the Green Century Fund is just one in a series of initiatives that McGill announced this year to reduce the overall carbon footprint of its investment portfolio.

In April, the Board approved an ambitious action plan that will seek, among its initiatives, to reduce the carbon footprint of the Endowment portfolio, relative to the McGill Investment Pool public equity benchmark, by 33% by 2025, while committing over $75 million to low-carbon funds and those that contribute to decarbonization.

These decisions are part of a comprehensive approach to sustainability that is guided by the University’s Vision 2020 Climate and Sustainability Action Plan. This strategic plan, which emerged through a broad consultation process, consists of 22 priority actions across five categories: research, education, connectivity, operations, and governance and administration. It also identifies two long-term targets: attain a platinum sustainability rating by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.

The University’s commitment to sustainability in teaching and learning is reflected in the more than 70 sustainability-focused courses and programs that are taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The University’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. In Canada, McGill has been designated one of country’s top 100 greenest employers the last three years, and in 2019, the University’s sustainability efforts garnered international recognition when it was named Sustainability Institution of the Year by the UN Environment-endorsed International Green Gown Award.

For more information on the Green Century Fund, contact or see Endowed Giving.