On Tuesday 16th July People & Planet released its 2019 University League, ranking universities by environmental and ethical performance, in which Durham University received a third class grade. Durham ranked 96th in the table, the 4th lowest ranking of a Russell Group university. In the breakdown of the ranking Durham scored 0% on both ‘Environmental Auditing & Management Systems’ and ‘Ethical Investment’.
This ranking follows Durham’s divestment from fossil fuels in March 2018, coming after a year-long Commission. Durham University promised full divestment with unspecific timeframe, this commitment needs to be followed through and put into policy, with an emphasis on removing all investments as quickly as possible.
The method for scoring looks at criteria such as ‘having a publicly available ethical investment policy’, ‘screening out specific sectors from their investments’, and ‘ethical banking’. Durham scored zero in all criteria despite the divestment commitment and the university have £17m in the bank with Barclays.
Lottie Brand, a member of Durham University People & Planet and undergrad student said, “It is hugely disappointing, yet unsurprising, to see how Durham have performed in these rankings. Especially within the greater context of open cast mining and fossil fuel investment in county Durham, we would expect that the university would make a greater effort to be an example of ethical and environmentally conscious investment.”
“Durham’s current association with Barclays bank and lack of transparency with regard to environmental and divestment plans and policy is alarming, and something People & Planet need to address, alongside new student group Eco DU. Hopefully the silver lining of this ranking is that it brings to light the lack of efforts from Durham university and prompts an appropriate response.”
“In this time of climate crisis it is quite frankly bewildering to me that such large institutions are still not recognising the efforts that need to be made, and the urgency with which these changes need to take place! Durham would not accept being considered a third class university in any other ranking so this absolutely cannot be ignored.”
People & Planet’s fossil free scorecard for Durham University: https://peopleandplanet.org/university/129367#fossil-free-scorecard
Durham University’s environmental policy: https://www.dur.ac.uk/greenspace/policies/strategic-plan/
Durham’s divestment statement: https://www.dur.ac.uk/divestment/
Durham University People & Planet University League 2019 Scorecard: https://peopleandplanet.org/university/129367/ul19