Lancaster University moves to end investment in fossil fuels following long-running campaign by students and staff
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The university will divest all of its investment portfolios, worth over £3 million, from fossil fuel companies, while also screening out arms trade and tobacco investments.
Lancaster’s commitment makes it the 92nd UK university to go Fossil Free and follows seven years of persistent organising by students and staff at the university. The campaign has been passed down through multiple generations of students after it began in 2014 with the founding of the Lancaster University Ethical Investments campaign by a coalition of social and climate justice societies – including the People & Planet and the SPEAK Societies, and lately Lancaster University Extinction Rebellion (LUXR).
Lancaster University’s announcement comes as the COP26 climate change summit enters its second and final week
Students are now turning their attention to Lancaster University’s Careers & Employability Service, and calling for them to explicitly exclude oil, gas and mining companies from recruiting and advertising in university spaces, as part of a coordinated national campaign under the banner ‘Fossil Free Careers’.
Laura Clayson, campaign manager: Climate Justice at People & Planet said: “We are thrilled for Lancaster’s students and staff, past and present, who have been involved in this victory for climate and social justice. This is a result of decades of organising at the institution, particularly against the university’s links with the arms trade. The exclusion of both arms and fossil fuel companies acknowledges the intersecting injustices experienced by those impacted by the climate crisis and the increased securitisation of borders.
Karen Ma, of LUXR, said: “LUXR is excited to have worked successfully with the university on this project. After seven years of campaigning started by our alumni, we are glad to have cracked this complex divestment issue. Now we are calling, like students across the country, for a Fossil Free Careers policy to be adopted, excluding oil, gas and mining industries from recruiting students to their environmentally destructive businesses.”
Professor Simon Guy, Lancaster’s Pro Vice-Chancellor, said: “Our teaching and research activities and our carbon reduction commitments are already well recognised as sector leading examples for supporting the challenges faced by climate change. I am therefore delighted that our investment strategies are now aligned with the University’s strategic vision of delivering transformative change.
“We recognise this is a very important issue to our students and staff, past and present, and thank them for their engagement, support and encouragement in getting to this point.”