Investment Policy Considered

Corporation Committee Urges New Look at South Africa

The University will reconsider its current investment policy regarding South Africa due to political changes in the country, according to a report released yesterday by a Harvard Corporation committee.

The 1993 annual report of the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (CCSR) cites South Africa's shift towards democracy and Nelson Mandela's October 1 announcement encouraging reinvestment in South Africa as reasons for reconsideration of the current policy of selective divestment.

Because of these developments, "the University hopes in coming months to begin the re-examination of its investment policy with regard to portfolio firms operating in South Africa," the report says.

This year, Harvard received only 18 proposals from companies in which it has holdings requesting shareholder opinion about the nature of its South African investments.

That number represents a sharp drop from 1992, when there were 49 questions about South Africa investment policies. The report attributes the drop to the political changes in South Africa.


In place of South Africa, the environment has prompted the most shareholder proposals. Thirty-seven environmental proposals were voted on by the CCSR this year.

The Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (ACSR)--a group of faculty, students and alumni that makes recommendations to the Corporation committee--submitted recommendations to the CCSR regarding 91 of the 97 social issues shareholder proposals.

The CCSR abstained on 22 votes where the ASCR recommended action, opposed 17 proposals that the ASCR advocated, and favored one proposal that the ASCR opposed.

The two committees are responsible for assisting the University "in addressing its ethical responsibilities as a large institutional investor," according to the report.

Other issues that the CCSR and the ACSR considered include military issues, employment practices in Northern Ireland, charitable contributions, operations in Mexico, forced labor, animal testing, equal employment, third-world debt, drug pricing policy and cigarette advertising.

University Treasurer D. Ronald Daniel and Secretary to the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility Elizabeth A. Gray did not return phone calls yesterday.