Oxford University pledges to stay away from oil and coal investments

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Oxford University has announced it will maintain its position of not having direct investment in high-risk oil sands and coal. It has also committed to investments that are financially prudent and comply with social and environmental criteria.

Oxford University announced that it has no direct investment in coal and oil sands and it intends to keep this position.

However, the old and prestigious university has not committed to avoid investment in all fossil fuels companies, causing some disappointment among supporters of the divestment movement.

Professor Andrew Hamilton, vice-chancellor of Oxford university, said, “We see the main purpose of our investment fund as generating the financial resources to support our academic purpose. However, our investment managers take a long-term view and take into account global risks, including climate change, when considering what investments to make.

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    The university said it recognises the environmental as well as financial risks of climate change and has “robust mechanisms to ensure environmental and social factors are fully and properly considered in its investment decisions”.

    Juliet Davenport OBE, CEO and founder of renewable electricity company Good Energy said this is good news but added the school should consider raising investment in low-carbon sectors.

    The University is raising significant funds for investment in its future, so now’s the time to take a strong stance. Oxford knows only too well what the effects of climate change could mean for its own historic city and its buildings”, she said.

    “Seven rivers meet in Oxford and colleges already have plans for the risks of flooding resulting from climate change. And the economic argument for divestment is compelling; with stocks in renewables out-performing traditional investments, it’s a no brainer from an economic and an environmental point of view.

    Recently, Edinburgh University refused to divest from dirty energy companies, causing protests among students and campaigners. Nevertheless, the case for fossil-free endowments remains strong and keeps gaining popularity among universities, local authorities and religious institutions.

    Photo: David via Flickr

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    Further reading:

    London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine divests from coal companies

    British Medical Association divests from fossil fuels over fears for human health

    Report: fossil fuel investments ‘incompatible’ with health sector’s responsibility

    Edinburgh University ‘refuses’ to divest from fossil fuels

    Fossil fuel divestment campaigns can help ‘stigmatise’ industry