Message from the President and Board Chair: Information and next steps on responsible investments at SFU

May 30, 2024

The Israel-Hamas conflict continues to distress all of us. Some in our community are looking for ways to make a meaningful difference and seeking information about SFU’s investment practices. SFU’s Board of Governors (the “Board”) is aware of petitions from members of our community requesting divestment from companies producing military arms and related technologies. We have also heard from other members of our community who seek clarity on SFU’s principles for when and how SFU invests. These requests raise important questions and deserve clear answers.

The Board has had robust conversations about investment decision-making, including at our recent May 23 meeting. We have concluded that the existing Responsible Investment Policy does not provide comprehensive decision-making guidance given the complexities that have been brought to the forefront.

SFU needs to make investment decisions that are aligned with the academic mission, the University Act and our values. To do this, the existing Responsible Investment Policy must be reviewed and strengthened. This work needs to be done thoughtfully and as expeditiously as possible. Accordingly, the Board has asked the Finance, Investments and Property Committee to review the policy and provide recommendations to the Board.

The review process will contain a plan for community consultation and will also seek advice from experts. The Board has instructed that this review take place over the coming months and allow for a consultative and transparent process.

The community will be invited to participate in this important conversation within the coming weeks. In the meantime, inquiries can be sent to

Background - SFU’s investment approach

SFU ensures that investments—which are made to support the academic mission, including scholarships and research funding—are reported on transparently. Investment information is published under the Custodial Statement of Endowment Investments on SFU’s Finance website. All investments are guided by the SFU Responsible Investment Policy (B10.16). The policy sets out a framework to guide SFU’s approach to the incorporation of environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into investment decisions. SFU established this policy in 2014, making it the second Canadian university to adopt a responsible investment policy.

Along with the Responsible Investment Policy, SFU has global, provincial and local safeguards in place to guide our investments. These safeguards include being one of over 3,800 signatories around the world that adhere to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI). Under the UN PRI, we are responsible for ensuring that we incorporate ESG considerations into investment decisions.

The Board of Governors is being asked to divest from three purported aerospace and defense companies: BAE Systems, Booz Allen Hamilton and CAE Inc. Current SFU holdings include these companies, some of which are held in externally managed, pooled funds of equities. In total, these companies represent 0.6% ($7.2 million) of the joint endowment and non-endowment invested funds of $1.13 billion as of March 31, 2024.

Joy Johnson
President & Vice-Chancellor
Simon Fraser University
Angie Lamarsh
Chair, Board of Governors
Simon Fraser University