5 February 2018

The University of Bristol divests from the worst carbon polluters

The University of Bristol has announced that it has successfully divested a majority of its holdings in the most carbon intensive sectors.

The leading UK University made the pledge last year to remove all its holdings from companies which derive more than five percent of its income from thermal coal or oil and gas from tar sands. Instead, its energy investments have shifted to renewable and low-carbon technologies.

Robert Kerse, Chief Financial Officer at the University of Bristol, said: "I am very pleased that we have achieved this aim which supports the University’s strong commitment to sustainability and fighting climate change".

The University hired a fund manager from ethical investors Rathbone Greenbank to help shift carbon intensive assets out of its £60 million endowment fund. The University has reported that investments in these sectors have decreased by 78 percent over the last nine months from 280,742 to 62,289 tonnes of greenhouse gases. 

Robin Boardman, from the University's Fossil Free Society, said: "It's really exciting to see that our University has followed through its commitments to cut ties and stop supporting some of the worst climate offenders.

"This large carbon reduction is a great step in the right direction and we look forward to continuing such positive communications with the University to further reduce the remaining 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases still owned by the University’s investments in fossil fuel companies”

The divestment forms part of Bristol University’s wider strategy, agreed upon in 2016, to improve its sustainability. This includes an ambitious target to become entirely carbon neutral by 2030.

Professor Guy Orpen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor commented on the strategy last year: "We are proud to be a sector-leader in sustainability - from the research we support, the curricula we teach and the student experience we offer, to the way we behave as an organisation. Our new investment policy has been developed to be consistent with our sustainability aims."


Read Climate Action's recent top 5 pledges to divest from fossil fuels.


Image Credit: University of Bristol

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