What process does People & Planet use to source the Fossil Free Scorecard data?
Every year* People & Planet, supported by a group of committed research volunteers, undertakes a sector-wide investments analysis. This involves sending Freedom of Information requests to all 153 UK universities that are listed in People & Planet’s University League. Researchers spend a week analysing the response of every single university and inputting the information they find into our research spreadsheet. This is in order to assess each institution across a range of criteria, from the market value of their investment portfolio(s) to the amount they hold in fossil fuels. You can find the full Freedom of Information request for this round of research pasted at the bottom of this webpage.

How does People & Planet figure out the amount held in fossil fuels?
Values for the amount held in fossil fuel companies are found by combing through each investment portfolio provided and seeking out the companies that are present on our fossil fuel company research list. We use the Carbon Underground 200 (CU200) database to build our annual list. This is because the CU200 is the minimum exclusion list we expect to be applied to an investment portfolio for a university’s divestment commitment to be fulfilled. You can find out more about which companies are listed on the Carbon Underground 200 webpage.

The data we seek from the sector for this research is investment portfolios at the company-level, which means not just fund names or investment portfolio totals, but a document that outlines the market value of investments in the different stocks, shares, bonds etc of companies that make up / are held within that portfolio.

Where investment portfolio information is not provided by a university at the company level, researchers arrive at an estimated figure for fossil fuel holdings through the application of an equation. This equation - 2.99% - is based on the average proportion of an overall investment portfolio invested in fossil fuel companies, and comes from research undertaken into local authority investment holdings by UK Divest. The number that the equation is applied to will depend on the level of disclosure by each university. This could be, but is not limited to, an overall investment portfolio figure provided by the university itself, a figure we source from the university’s most recent annual accounts available at the time of research or, most helpfully, the market value of the funds that the university is invested in.

The data for my university is wrong. What can I do about it?
People & Planet try their utmost to come to the most accurate figures we can for each university. But, we can only work with the information we were provided with in response to our Freedom of Information request. Often if the data is inaccurate it is because we’ve had to apply an equation to create an estimate. If your data is wrong and you can provide evidence to us please get in touch. If you are struggling to secure the evidence, please contact us to let us know - there are other types of evidence that, whilst not ideal, we can accept in the absence of a full breakdown of investments at the company level.

*As of 2023, our investments research timeline has changed. Our investments research will now take place every other year. The next investments research date will be published here when we have finalised our dates.


Freedom of Information request 2022-23

This is a request for information through the Freedom of Information Act.

1. What was the total market value of the university’s investment portfolio(s) on the 31st July 2022?

If you are going to provide this information through your Annual Accounts/Financial Statements, please provide the specific page number, section and row that the value can be found on. For example, page 28, section 5 “Investments”, row “total market value.”

For guidance on the number we are seeking, please see this example from the University of Glasgow at ‘Annual Investments’ in cell C1091 here: https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/sustaina...

2. On the 31st July 2022, were the institution's investment portfolio(s) managed directly by the institution, indirectly by [an] external fund manager(s), or a combination of both?

3. If the university uses external fund manager(s) to manage investment portfolios, please provide the name of each fund manager used, along with the percentage of the total investment funds that they were managing on the 31st July 2022.

Please present this information in this format:

Fund manager name - Percentage of total investment funds managed
Schroders - 47%
CCLA - 49%
University - 4%

4. If the institution invests directly, please provide the details of companies invested in (by way of all investment portfolios), including the full names of each company invested in, and the market value invested in each company on the 31st July 2022. Please provide this information in a spreadsheet format.

5. If the university holds investments through [an] external fund manager(s), please provide a breakdown of the university’s holdings with that investment manager on the 31st July 2022, including the market value for each company that forms part of your investment portfolio(s) with them. Please provide this information at a company level in a spreadsheet and/or the format that this information is provided to you by your fund manager(s).

For example, see the University of Glasgow’s breakdown at ‘Annual Investments’ here: https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/sustaina...

6. Does the institution have an ethical investment policy, or similar? If so, please state if it is publicly-available, and provide a web link.

If applicable, in response to any of the above information requested, please confirm that the University does not hold this information.

Please confirm receipt of this request and we look forward to hearing back from you within the next 20 working days.