Scottish universities have been criticised by NUS Scotland after it was revealed that many have investments in arms and fossil fuel companies. NUS Scotland argues that the educational institutions should work to benefit wider society and such investments hinder this.
Between them Edinburgh, Glasgow, Strathclyde and Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon universities have almost £3 million in the arms trade and £15 million in fossil fuel companies. The figures were revealed after NUS Scotland requested the information under the Freedom of Information act.
Kirsty Haigh, vice president of communities for NUS Scotland, said, “Our institutions should be working to benefit not just their campuses, but wider society as well and we should expect more from them. At the moment, many of them either don’t know or don’t care what companies their investments are supporting.
She added, “None of the reasons for divestment are contentious, and universities should recognise that and take action. Burning fossil fuels is causing disastrous climate change, and arms companies profit from conflict and human rights abuses.
“Our universities – which are at the forefront of world leading research, innovation and social progress – should know this better than anyone.”
Several other institutions have come under fire for holding shares in arms companies, including nine universities in London that have a combined investment of £7.4 million in the industry and the Church of England.
The fossil fuel divestment movement has been gathering pace in recent months, with a range of institutions facing calls to pull their investments out of polluting energy sources and instead focus on clean alternatives.
Photo: Barney Moss via Flickr