University to divest from fossil fuel companies


9th November 2020

The University of Dundee has committed to divestment from fossil fuel companies in its £25m endowment portfolio, within the next five years.

The University currently holds a relatively small level of investment in fossil fuel companies – around £1.7million according to the most recent valuation – through its wider investment portfolio. Over the course of the next five years the University will divest from fossil fuels and focus on other areas of investment.

Professor David Maguire, Interim Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, said, “The University Strategy states that we will build upon our strong track record of improving environmental sustainability to minimise the negative impact we have on the world and its resources.

“We have a duty to play our part in responding to the climate emergency, and there needs to be actions as well as aspirations. With that in mind we are divesting from fossil fuel companies. We have listened to the staff and student voice on this issue, and they have rightly pressed us to take clear and timely action.

“Divestment is a process that will take a relatively short amount of time and we are already progressing with that.”

The decision to divest from fossil fuel companies was approved by the University’s Finance & Policy Committee.

The decision has been welcomed by students and staff who had campaigned for the University to divest from fossil fuels.

Hannah Feuerstein, a fourth-year Art & Philosophy Student, was one of the organisers of the 'Divest Dundee’ campaign.

Hannah said, “When we started campaigning for divestment one of our arguments had been that we want to take pride in our University. By committing to divestment the University of Dundee shows an active standpoint for a better future, works towards climate justice and takes the responsibility it has for its students seriously. Let us all – students and staff- work together for a beautiful tomorrow.”

Ellie Harrison, Lecturer in Contemporary Art Practice and member of the Divest Dundee campaign, said, “It’s brilliant to hear that the University has finally committed to divesting its Endowment from fossil fuels. We have been creating awareness for this issue within the University community for the last five years, and submitted our Divest Dundee petition to the Endowment Committee last November. If our University truly cares about building a better future for our students and our local community, then it’s essential we practise what we preach.”

Natasha Ion, from People & Planet, the largest student network in the UK campaigning for social and environmental justice, said, “It is great to witness the University of Dundee make a fossil fuel divestment commitment. This announcement to full divestment shows the strength and collective power of staff and students working alongside each other. It also shows how meaningful international solidarity with frontline communities can be enacted in a time of multiple crises.

“We look forward to seeing the University enshrine this commitment in policy and continue to work alongside Dundee divestment organisers - from decisions around where Dundee moves their money, to further actions that can be taken toward a future premised on climate and social justice.”

University of Dundee

Nobel Prize winning poet and honorary graduate Seamus Heaney has described the University of Dundee as ‘having its head in the clouds and its feet firmly on the ground.’ The ability to be both aspirational and down-to earth and to blend ground-breaking intellectual achievement with practical applications, has given the University its distinctive character.

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