Today the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has announced full divestment from the fossil fuel industry. This comes as part of the University's strategy to prioritise sustainability in the run up to its 200th anniversary in 2028.
UCLan divested after updating its ethical investment policy to exclude all fossil fuel companies and in doing so has become the 97th UK university to make a Fossil Free commitment. This makes UCLan the seventh UK university to fully divest this year alone, adding to a total of over £15 billion in UK university endowment funds cut from the fossil fuel industry. UCLan is the third university in Lancashire to make a full Fossil Free commitment, with only Edge Hill University left to do likewise.
The student-led Fossil Free campaign, which demands universities remove all investments from the fossil fuel industry, has now seen over 60% of UK universities commit to full divestment. Building on this success, student campaigners are now calling on university careers services to exclude oil, gas and mining companies from student and graduate recruitment opportunities. This campaign, Fossil Free Careers, sees students continue to sever the relationships between their universities and the fossil fuel industry through ending recruitment pipelines into the extractive industries they say are most responsible for environmental destruction. Fossil Free Careers has been publicly endorsed by both staff and students across the UK, receiving backing from both the National Union of Students (NUS) and The University and College Union (UCU).
Laura Clayson, Climate Campaigns Manager at People & Planet, said: “It is incredible to see the collective power of student organisers come through in the University of Central Lancashire’s Fossil Free commitment. The fossil fuel industry is driving the climate crisis and frontline and Indigenous communities are continually forced to resist its daily destructive operations on their lands. Severing ties is a necessary act of solidarity with these communities and I look forward to seeing the industry excluded from UCLan’s recruitment opportunities next.”
Nathan James, Ethics & Environment Representative and Chair of the Environmental Society at the University of Central Lancashire, said: “I'm absolutely delighted the University has updated its ethical investment policy, and confirmed it will no longer invest in fossil fuels. This is a step in the much needed direction towards mitigating climate change effects. As students, we are the future, and we deserve a bright and successful one.
We now need to transition to a low-carbon society in order to urgently address the climate crisis. Therefore, looking forward, we will build on this announcement's success and lobby UCLan to implement an Ethical Careers Policy to exclude oil, gas and mining industries from campus recruitment activities.”
George Charles, Chief Finance Officer at the University of Central Lancashire, said: “Sustaining and enhancing the wellbeing of people, places and the planet are amongst the most important challenges we face today. We have made these key aspects of our current strategic plan as we know our students, staff and stakeholders are concerned about the social, environmental and sustainability impact we have on society.
“We have not invested in fossil fuels for the last few years but officially announcing our divestment from fossil fuel companies is an important step.”
Notes to editor
People & Planet define full divestment as divestment from all fossil fuel extractor company holdings. Partial divestment is defined as divestment from only some fossil fuel extractor company holdings - usually those involved with the extraction of coal and tar sands.
UK universities divested from fossil fuels:
University of Central Lancashire Ethical Investment Policy :
List of four Lancashire universities:
Fossil Free Careers campaign: