Fossil Free Sussex is part of a wider national Fossil Free campaign led by People and Planet, which aims to pressure universities to remove their investments from the fossil fuel industry (known as divesting). It is motivated by concern about climate change, not only as an environmental issue but also as a social issue with huge consequences for humankind. The basic message is: if it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage.
Understandably, universities must invest in order to make a financial return and sustain their activities. However, as educational institutions claiming to act in the public good, we believe that these investments should be guided by ethical principles. The University of Sussex has £8 million worth of investments, yet it doesn’t have an ethical investment policy. Some of these investments are managed by external investment managers, which then invest in companies such as BP and Shell in order to make a financial return on University of Sussex’s behalf.
We want the University of Sussex to engage with these investment managers and to tell them to screen fossil fuel companies from the investments made on behalf of the university. We believe there is strong justification for this as the social and environmental consequences of climate change (that fossil fuel companies directly contribute to) clearly contravene charitable objectives, and undermine the University’s claims to being a charitable institution.
We call on the university to immediately reconsider its investment in the fossil fuel industry and to establish an ethical investment policy which negatively screens fossil fuels, as well as other sectors which contravene ethical and environmental standards, ideally giving student and staff representation within this policy and fair input into decision-making.
Fossil Free Sussex have got a public petition which you can sign here.
Society and Citizenship Officer - Aisling Murray
Office: Activities Centre, 1st floor, Falmer House
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Wed 13 Apr 2016
Students celebrate their campaign successes and the recent approval of a new ‘Socially Responsible Investment Policy’.
Tue 24 Nov 2015
As public figures, staff members and alumni of the University of Sussex, we are proud to support a world-leading institution, renowned for its constructive engagement with social and political issues and its leading profile on sustainability research.