Over the past 6 months, I have been actively lobbying the University of Brighton to commit to divest any current direct investments and refrain from future direct investments in fossil fuels.
In partnership with the NUS, People & Planet is asking universities to sign a Fossil Fuel Declaration.
As of the 29th January 2020, I have been assured by University Senior Management that my request successfully passed through the University Finance & Infrastructure Committee and therefore has been recommended to the next Board of Governors Meeting.
As of February 2020, 79 UK universities have signed the declaration, by which they commit not to invest in extractor fossil fuel companies (two such companies are identified as Royal Dutch Shell and BP). The University of Brighton have not yet signed this declaration which makes these commitments a matter of urgency.
At the Board of Governors meeting on the 29th April 2020, the University is being asked to make 3 commitments:
- to divest any direct investments in Fossil Fuels
- not to invest in extractor fossil fuel companies in the future
- to sign the People & Planet declaration
As I am now leaving my position of Vice President Activities, the BSU President will ensure that you are updated with the result at the earliest opportunity.
Please feel free to reach out to the President: Calvin Jude Jansz at BSUPresident@brighton.ac.uk
Why is this declaration important?
UK universities currently invest up to £5.2 billion in the industry. That's an investment in fossil fuels of £1,804 for every student in the UK. Investments are kept in fossil fuel company shares through their endowments.
Not only are universities financially supporting the fossil fuel industry in this way, but it also gives them valuable credibility - a ‘social licence’.
By engaging with fossil fuel companies in these ways, universities are damaging their credibility and leadership role in shaping a fossil-free future and failing in their responsibilities to tackle climate change.
Universities are meant to be a bastion of forward-thinking and life-changing research in our society. To invest in and maintain such links with the fossil fuel industry goes completely against this, in every way.
The Climate Change Emergency is real. We are unprepared for the danger our future holds. We face floods, wildfires, extreme weather, crop failure, mass displacement and the breakdown of society. The time for denial is over. It is time to act.