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Cambridge University Commits to Environmental Investing

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Following pressure from students and staff, the council of Cambridge University has made a commitment to addressing climate change in its £3bn endowment fund.

The council has endorsed divestment from fossil fuels and is now encouraging environmental impact investment through its endowment fund (CUEF) and to investors generally.

There are also plans to hire an environmental, social and corporate governance officer, as well as join industry groups such as the Institutional Investors' Group on Climate Change.

The commitment comes after the Council set up a divestment working group in 2017 to consider the question of divestment from businesses involved in fossil fuel extraction.

Both students and staff at Cambridge have been protesting to persuade the university to cut its exposure to fossil fuel companies, which it holds via pooled investment funds.

However, the university will continue to hold some indirect investments in polluting industries. The council said: "At this stage, pursuing a strategy that would insist on disengagement from any funds with even small fossil fuel components, or that would require CUEF to step back from investments in alternative energy initiatives by global companies currently regarded as fossil fuel companies, would result in significant limitations on the CUEF's ability to invest as successfully as in the past."

The university will look to use its academic leadership to spearhead expertise in environmental impact investing, both for CUEF's own strategy and in developing the sector generally.

In addition to reducing its investments in polluting industries, the council has also committed to carbon neutrality across the university estate by 2050.