Following 3 years of student campaigning for fossil fuel divestment at the University of Manchester, where the institution has consistently ignored our efforts, we are ramping up the pressure and joining forces with other university campaigns around the UK, including Cambridge, Leeds, UCL and UEA.
This morning (October 24), we held a peaceful demonstration in Barclay’s bank on Cornmarket Street. Our group of students from the University of Oxford and members of the city joined an international effort to demand banks to stop funding fossil fuel expansion projects, “before it is too late”.
Barclays, specifically has invested £48 million in Kinder Morgan, the largest pipeline company in North America and the corporation responsible for Trans Mountain, a pipeline to transport the least efficient, dirtiest oil out of the tar sands in Canada.
UNISON becomes first UK Trade Union to challenge sweatshops in their own supply chain, Who will be next?
Public service union UNISON became the first trade union in the UK to ensure the electronics they purchase are independently monitored for workers’ rights violations. UNISON joins a growing number of institutions in Europe that have affiliated to Electronics Watch, an independent monitoring organisation that assists institutions in the public sector to improve pay and conditions for those who manufacture the goods they buy.
This weekend (14-15 October) Young Labour – the youth wing of the UK Labour Party – passed a policy motion that included supporting fossil fuel divestment and joining the #DivestBarclays campaign to boycott the bank until they ditch fossil fuel finance.
The motion was heard at the National Youth Policy Conference 2017 and its success means that it is now the official position of Young Labour and will be proposed to the Labour Party on behalf of its young members to become national policy. See the motion in full below.
When the financial crash happened in 2007, I was a 17-year-old college student who watched on as the jobs fell away, people lost their homes, and saving the economy seemingly became more important than all the lives that had been destroyed. Being born and raised in the old cotton milling town of Bolton, I was used to seeing people struggling, but this took that struggle to a new level. Shops that had been there all my life closed down or morphed in to payday loan sharks.
If we are serious about preventing catastrophic warming, we cannot dig any new coal mines, drill any new fields, or build any more pipelines. The new reality for power production, according to a recent study from academics at the University of Oxford, is that no new fossil fuel infrastructure can be constructed after 2017 unless other installations are closed before the end of their lifetime, dismantled, or modernised. Yet fossil fuel companies have shown they will stop at nothing to dig up and sell every last bit of coal, gas and oil.
People & Planet and the National Union of Students (NUS) announced today that over a third of universities in the UK have made fossil free commitments, as nine new UK universities have committed to never invest in fossil fuel companies. This brings the total to fifty four institutions which have taken action to exclude fossil fuel companies from their investment portfolios.