16 March 2018

Durham University to divest its shares in fossil fuels

One of Britain’s oldest and most revered universities is joining the growing movement of institutions who are divesting from companies involved in fossil fuel extraction.

Durham University took the decision after a year-long consultation which reviewed the options, impacts and views of the college.

The University will now divest its current holdings in fossil fuels, said to be less than £1.5 million, “as soon as practicable”. It now hopes to become a leader in promoting renewable technologies instead.

Professor David Cowling, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, who led the Commission, said: “The decision to divest from companies involved in fossil fuel extraction is an important one for the University.

“It has been taken following full consultation, and I would like to thank all staff, students and alumni who shared their views on this issue.

“Durham is a world top 100 university, a research partner of international standing and a significant employer in North East England. We are committed not only to divestment, but to becoming a major partner in the future development of green energy.

Durham Student’s Union (DSU), which first put forward the proposal, responded with enthusiasm at the move. Megan Croll, President of the DSU, said: “I’m delighted that student ambitions for a fossil-fuel-free investment policy at Durham University have been realised.

“This success shows the power that students and staff, working together, have to make our community more progressive and responsible. I’d like to pay tribute to the student leaders that have put considerable effort into this work, notably the Durham SU People and Planet Society.”

An increasing number of UK universities have announced their divestment plans in recent months. Both Bristol and Edinburgh made the decision last month, also motivated by student campaigns.

More on Durham’s decision can be found here.


Photo Credit: Jungpionier/CC

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