Update: In a statement released on Tuesday 12 May, the University of Edinburgh stated it didn’t see its options limited to ‘no change’ or ‘pull out of all investments.’ Instead, it will ‘seek to change the behaviour of the companies in which it invests – in the fossil fuels sector and in all other sectors’.
The University of Edinburgh, which invests approximately £9 million in fossil fuel companies including BP, Shell and BHP Billiton, is due to make a final decision on divesting from fossil fuels this afternoon.
It has the third-largest university endowment in the UK, after Oxford and Cambridge, totalling £291 million.
In the UK, the University of Glasgow, University of Bedfordshire, and the University of London SOAS have all committed to divest, making an international total of 28 universities moving their money out of fossil fuels.
The decision will be made this afternoon (11 May) at a meeting of the University Court – the highest decision-making body in the university. The meeting could see the university divesting from companies involved in the extraction of coal and tar sands, following a recommendation from the university’s Central Management Group in April.
This is a result of a three-year campaign by the Edinburgh People & Planet student group, supported by the Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA).
‘If Edinburgh decides to divest on Monday, it will send an important signal to other universities in Scotland and across the UK that investing in this rogue industry is morally unjustifiable. The university needs to listen to the voices of its students, academics and alumni who are demanding it takes this vital action on climate change.’
Kirsty Haigh, student campaigner with Edinburgh People & Planet
The campaign at Edinburgh has gathered widespread support from across the community, with backing from over 50 university academics and the Edinburgh University Students’ Association.
Students, alumni and faculty staff will demonstrate on campus on Monday to demand that the university divests fully from the world’s top 200 fossil fuel companies.
Who: Students, alumni and faculty members supporting the divestment campaign; campaign leaders and spokespeople.
What: Students will demonstrate with banners and placards, whilst academics, alumni and student campaigners address the crowd.
Where: Old College,The University of Edinburgh, South Bridge, City of Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
When: 1pm – 2pm
Why: Edinburgh University is due to make a final decision on divesting from the fossil fuel industry. This demonstration is to pressure the university to divest fully from the world’s top 200 fossil fuel companies which are driving climate change and blocking clean energy solutions.
The People & Planet student network has joined a global campaign to push universities to divest from the 200 fossil fuel companies that hold the vast majority of the world’s oil, coal and gas reserves, arguing that the fossil fuel industry is a rogue industry which is driving climate change and blocking clean energy solutions.
Click here for more information on People & Planet and the divestment campaign.
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