Based on recommendations by the board's Investment Committee and the College's Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility (ACIR), the trustees voted to direct the College's Investment Office to avoid investments in six companies deemed to be directly complicit in what the U.S. Congress and Department of State have determined to be genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. As a result, Dartmouth will avoid investing in ABB Ltd.; Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, Ltd.; PetroChina Company, Ltd.; Sudanese White Nile Petroleum Company; Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas); and Sinopec Corp., all of which are involved in oil drilling or oilfield services in Sudan. The College does not currently hold stock in any of these companies.So divestment apparently didn't require the College to actually sell a stock. That may be a first, but it does abide by the claim I made in an earlier post: for divestment to have any impact through the capital markets, it has to focus on new rather than old capital. In that post, I also suggested that the critical element in using markets to punish the offenders is to work through the product markets--to boycott the products rather than merely ownership of the assets.
"Divestment and screening are steps that should be taken infrequently and only in the most compelling circumstances," President James Wright said. "This decision reflects Dartmouth's concern about the Sudanese government's campaign of atrocities against civilians, which Congress and the State Department have described as genocide. This campaign has created a humanitarian crisis of major proportions in Darfur and Chad."
Board Chair William H. Neukom thanked the ACIR and the students involved in the Darfur Action Group for bringing the issue to the board's attention, and for their work in researching and analyzing the Darfur crisis and the activities of companies doing business in Sudan. Neukom said the board encouraged the administration to support additional educational programs concerning the Darfur situation.
It will be interesting to see where the divestment movement on campus goes from here.
See also the article in today's Dartmouth and some comments over at Joe's Dartblog.