Hebrew University Adopts Green Investment Model

Campus environmental activists respond with more demands, such as cutting investment in fossil fuels

Nir Hasson
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Activists at a protest on climate change in Tel Aviv last week.
Activists at a protest on climate change in Tel Aviv, September 2019. Credit: Meital Shefer/Extinction Rebellion Israel
Nir Hasson

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced it is joining the global trend of schools rerouting their investments to green causes and socially responsible companies.

On Sunday, the university revealed its adoption of the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investments model, which lays down rules for investments that factor in environmental and social impact, and corporation governance. The university undertook “to consider” shifting its investments toward green energy and companies that safeguard workers’ rights.

The universities of Harvard and Stanford have taken similar steps but Hebrew University is the first Israeli university to do so. In its statement, the university said that it would invest $2.5 million in Impact Bridges, a fund targeting solutions technology.

The student organization Green Trend said it has been pressing the university management for years about this issue, and that this decision is just a first step in the right direction.

“It is good to see the Hebrew University deciding to add environmental and social impact to its financial considerations,” said Miriam Frank, who has been advocating for the university to change its investments policy. However, she noted that the interpretation of ESG principles can be very broad and urged the university to take further steps, such as eschewing investment in fossil fuels.