Net Zero by 2050

Harvard’s commitment to make its endowment net zero of greenhouse gases by 2050 was a first among university endowments and adheres to the timeline set by the Paris Agreement. To achieve this goal HMC is building a comprehensive framework for measuring and tracking emissions data. Knowing that we have no time to lose, HMC is already making investment decisions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our portfolio and drive climate change solutions.

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Why make a net-zero commitment?

First steps in the process

Getting across the finish line

Frequently Asked Questions

What does “net-zero emissions” mean?

Achieving net-zero emissions means balancing the greenhouse gases (GHG) generated and removed from the atmosphere by our investments.

Why 2050?

The primary goal of the Paris Agreement, which is to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, requires the global economy to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

What is the current emissions footprint of the endowment?

HMC is working hard to assess the GHG emissions of the endowment portfolio. This includes developing a methodology to measure emissions and collecting emissions-related data from our external asset managers. Once we have both of those pieces in place we can provide an accurate measure of the baseline GHG emissions from our portfolio.

Will HMC set interim targets?

Yes, HMC will set interim targets. Once there is a reasonably accurate measure of the portfolio’s GHG footprint, benchmarks will be set to ensure that the goal is reached by 2050—if not before.

What is HMC doing to invest in climate solutions?

Supporting the transition to a decarbonized economy is critical to achieving a net-zero portfolio. We cannot reach our climate goals as a society without technological advancements in energy production and carbon capture. As a long-term investor, HMC is uniquely positioned to invest in these solutions. HMC is actively building a portfolio of investments through externally managed funds and direct investments that support the transition to a green economy.

Climate Reports