31 October 2017

The University of Edinburgh moves £60 million into sustainability and low-carbon companies

The University of Edinburgh has announced it will shift £60 million of its investments into businesses that will directly benefit the environment, as part of its 2040 Climate Strategy.

The investment will be leveraged through two main funds.

The first will invest in companies that tackle a wide range of sustainability issues, including the production of greener products and low-carbon infrastructure.

Under the sustainability umbrella, the University will also support companies that address significant sustainability challenges such as the sourcing of sustainable water, energy, and food.

The second fund will invest exclusively in renewable technology, directly supporting the global transition to a low carbon energy system powered mainly by renewables.

The news is part of the University’s Zero by 2040 Climate Strategy, which aims, among others, to reduce carbon emissions per £1 million turnover by 50 percent by 2025 and make the university carbon neutral by 2040.

Dave Gorman, Director of Social Responsibility and Sustainability of the University of Edinburgh said: “This substantial investment will deliver an impact for society”.

“It will support new and established technologies and enable the creation of jobs in new industries”.

In 2013, the University of Edinburgh joined the Principles for Responsible Investment, a UN initiative that aims to make the global financial system more sustainable- becoming the first European university to join the movement.

Phil McNaull, Director of Finance at the University said: “Since we joined the Principles for Responsible Investment, we have updated our policies on fossil fuels, modern slavery, and sustainable supply chains”.

“This is another major change to our investment fund- to selectively invest in funds making a more positive contribution to environmental sustainability”.

Oliver Glick, Vice President at Edinburgh University Students’ Association said: “Students have shown a real passion in the last few years for a more sustainable university, one which divests, and reinvests in green energy”.

“Any move in this direction is appreciated by the Students Association, and we hope that the university continues to prioritise sustainability”.

Since May 2015, when the University launched its Zero by 2040 Climate Strategy, it has invested more than £30 million in low carbon technology on campus, such as energy efficiency in buildings.

The University has also attracted more than £50 million in funding for climate-related research.

In 2016, the University of Edinburgh also divested from three major coal and tar sands companies: Shell, RTZ and BHP Billiton.

It also vowed to press fossil fuel companies to measure and monitor their carbon emissions and to implement energy efficiency across the supply chain of fossil fuel production, refining and use. 

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