University unveils new plan for fossil fuel investments
Friday, 08 April 2016
The University is planning to increase transparency in its £70million portfolio of investments and introduce a tough new investment policy towards the most carbon-intensive companies.
The proposed changes have been agreed by the University’s Investments Committee and are being led by our Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell. They are designed to bring the University’s investment policy more in line with other policies aimed at reducing environmental impact. It also reflects our position as a world-leading centre for the study of the environment and climate.
The proposed new policy comes following discussions with RUSU, which had urged the University to sell any investments in a group of companies with the largest fossil fuel reserves.
Among the proposals, the University plans to:
- for the first time, routinely publish a full breakdown of investment holdings in all external companies;
- move its full endowment portfolio to investment fund(s) that exclude companies generating the bulk of their revenues and reserves from the most carbon-intensive fossil fuels;
- give priority to investment in firms which are taking significant steps to cut fossil fuel use; and
- only support funds that actively engage with companies in which they invest as a way to encourage all companies to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and change business practices to reduce environmental impact.
Sir David Bell said: “The University of Reading is a world leader in environmental research and is committed to cutting its own carbon emissions. This new plan for our investments strikes the right balance between securing our long-term financial position, meeting our broader commitments to society and the environment, and delivering world-class teaching and research.
“This is an important step forward, and follows detailed discussions with students and staff.”
Chairman of the Investments Committee and Vice-President of the University Council, Robin Evans, said: “These measures will provide more transparency in our investments. They also demonstrate that we want to be more active investors.”
The plans have been agreed the Investments Committee and are now subject to approval by the University Council, which meets in July.
These measures build upon our ambitious long-term commitment to reduce our carbon footprint across all our campuses. Since 2011, we have invested £3.1 million into measures to cut down our carbon emissions by more than a third- we’re currently on target to achieve this within the next 12 months.
You can read a copy of Sir David Bell's letter to RUSU here.
Copies of our annual company-by-company breakdowns can be found here: