This article suggests that fossil fuel subsidies are 10 times those of renewables! This has to stop…more investment is needed to fund the transition to clean energy, and shouldn’t be put into unsustainable fossil fuels that are destroying our climate. We’re calling on universities to do their part in this as well, shifting funds out of oil and natural gas and in the process, avoiding the risk of being financially burnt when the carbon bubble crashes.
There’s a new trailer out for ‘Do the Math’, the new film by 350.org, the climate change campaign in the US which is spearheading the fossil free movement there. The message is simple, the maths obvious: we need to leave fossil fuel in the ground. And if oil and gas companies won’t take this step voluntarily, it’s our job to divest.
… this and other questions are discussed in Remus Valson’s Commercial Law Blog. As a lecturer of Social Corporate Responsibility, he was one of the great speakers of our Panel Discussion on April 3rd. Remus Vason highlighted the legal complexity that arises from the question of compatibility of the trustees’ duties and ethical investment – and the role of trust constitutions to clarify whether either of those decisive factors apply:
(a) factors relevant to long-term investment performance which might not have an immediate financial impact, including questions of sustainability or environmental and social impact;
(b) interests beyond the maximisation of financial return;
(c) generally prevailing ethical standards, and / or the ethical views of their beneficiaries, even where this may not be in the immediate financial interest of those beneficiaries.
If those apply (and we firmly believe our university has interests beyond the maximisation of financial return!) the trust can legally change its constitution to move towards a more ethical investment portfolio!
For more information check out Remus’ blog post !
We have compiled a spreadsheet of all the university’s investments showing their value, the trade in which the company specialises and any issues within the company. This research has revealed some more shocking facts about the university’s investments which will shortly be added to the list below. Click here to view the investment portfolio.
Should EUSA lobby the university to immediately cease all new investment in arms and fossil fuels, and invest at least 25% of its endowment in an ethical fund manager?
In today’s world, what we do with our money has important ramifications. The University of Edinburgh claims to have been “influencing the world since 1583” – but the question is, in what way? Universities should be about socially useful innovation, but many of the university’s £250 million plus of investments are in harmful technologies and industries. Companies include Ultra Electronics, a manufacturer of components for military drones, and many fossil fuel companies, including Shell and Total, both oil companies with poor human rights records.
Drones are terrorising civilian populations in country’s such as Pakistan, and their use is being investigated by the UN as a possible war crime. Fossil fuels are the major cause of anthropogenic climate change, and are estimated to be responsible for up to 300,000 deaths each year (Global Humanitarian Forum, 2009). And fossil fuel companies, at a conservative estimate, have reserves large enough that if they are burnt they will condemn us to catastrophic climate change – in fact, using only a fifth of these reserves will push us over the limit (Rolling Stones, Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math). At least 80% of these reserves need to be left in the ground.
The university must not support these industries through its investments. It is detrimental to the image of the University, contradictory to its principles, and immoral – causing suffering to many without the ability to protest.
Vote yes to responsible investment. Go to investethically.wordpress.com to join the campaign today or find out more.