University of Edinburgh Divests ALL Fossil Fuels from £1bn Endowment

By: People & Planet Edinburgh

Contact: Tara Wight 07758329938 tara.wight@ed.ac.uk

Monday 5th February - University of Edinburgh announced it will move its entire investment portfolio out of the fossil fuel industry over the next three years. The University currently holds £6.3million in fossil fuels companies: Total, Atlas Copco and BG Group.

The University’s endowment is the third largest in the UK, behind Cambridge and Oxford, making the decision the largest full divestment of any UK university so far. This comes after a long-running student campaign and the University's 2015 decision to divest from coal & tar sands following a 10-day occupation.

Tara Wight, campaigner at Edinburgh People & Planet and PhD student in Plant Biology said, “It has taken many years of tireless student campaigning to get to this point, and we are thrilled that Edinburgh University have finally realised the importance of divestment, and decided to match their investment portfolio with the environmentally friendly image they present to the public.”

“Fossil fuel investments are never acceptable from universities, and we hope that more across the country will see this move and follow the example of Edinburgh. Solidarity with those working on Fossil Free campaigns around the country!”

The news was broken as senior Vice-Principal Charlie Jeffery emailed the announcement today, saying, “We think that our investment portfolio should reflect our commitment: focusing on lower carbon investment products and transitioning out of investment in fossil fuel companies”.

Edinburgh’s commitment comes on the same day that the University of Sussex was announced as the 61st divestment by a UK university with Fossil Free Sussex celebrating that their University had moved it's endowment into a fossil free fund.

Chris Saltmarsh, Fossil Free Campaigns Coordinator at People & Planet, said, “The fossil fuel divestment movement is now mainstream as Huddersfield, Sussex and Edinburgh universities have fully divested already in 2018. These hard fought student-led campaign wins are essential to creating political space for victories like New York City's mammoth divestment pledge including to sue the fossil fuel industry in federal court.”

**ENDS**

Contact: Tara Wight 07758329938 tara.wight@ed.ac.uk

NOTES:

  1. Details of the University of Edinburgh's current investments in fossil fuel companies: https://peopleandplanet.org/university/129369#fossil-free-scorecard

  2. Announcement of full divestment: http://www.studentnewspaper.org/breaking-university-of-edinburgh-announce-full-divestment-from-fossil-fuels/amp/

  3. Details of 2015 partial divestment and 10-day occupation: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/26/university-edinburgh-divest-fossil-fuel-student-protestors

  4. Detail of University of Sussex divestment: https://peopleandplanet.org/blog/2018-02-05/victory-sussex-university-goes-fossil-free

  5. Details of NYC divestment: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/10/new-york-city-plans-to-divest-5bn-from-fossil-fuels-and-sue-oil-companies

Photos: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1AlqHccdCsKbKj665OMRqzDA5llh1yg4o

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