Fossil Fuel Divestment: Colleges & Universities

Colleges and universities are leading the way. Students have always been key to movements of conscience, and this fight is no different.

Institutions of higher education are charged with preparing their students for lifetimes of work and service. But if those institutions are invested in fossil fuel companies, then students’ educations are being subsidized by investments that guarantee they won't have much of a planet on which to make use of their degrees.

Colleges and universities rush to launch greening initiatives, sustainability offices, and environmental curricula, but it makes no sense to green the campus and not the portfolio. Fossil fuel divestment is a reasonable next step -- and it’s the right thing to do.

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Campaigns (387)

  • University of Puget Sound: Go Fossil Free!
    Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50bn in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on the University of Puget Sound to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of the University of Puget Sound will not only be a sound decision for our institution's financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.
    92 of 100 Signatures
  • UCLA: Go Fossil Free!
    Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50bn in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on the University of California Los Angeles to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of UCLA will not only be a sound decision for our institution's financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.
    92 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Heidi Harmon
  • EC Divest
    Eckerd College’s mission statement highlights the importance of “sustaining the natural environment” while also empowering students to “strengthen their sense of personal and social responsibility for ethical reasoning and action, constructive community engagement, and thoughtful leadership through meaningful participation in campus life and the wider community”. In these times one of the most significant ways we can do this is by divesting our school’s portfolio from the fossil fuel industry. The mission of the EC Divest group is for Eckerd College to become a frontrunner in the nationwide movement to divest from the fossil fuel industry. This movement calls for schools to immediately freeze new investments in fossil fuel companies and divest current endowment funds from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds over a five-year period. We have the opportunity to become the first college in the Southeast to fully commit to this cause, with another 300 student-led campaigns across the country that have already begun to pressure their schools. Divestment campaigns have made a big impact before, including in the fight against apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s. In this widespread, campus-led movement, schools across America boycotted companies doing business in South Africa. The college divestment campaign played a crucial role as an agent of social change that eventually helped to dismantle South Africa’s apartheid system by increasing public awareness of the government’s injustices. Likewise, as the fossil fuel divestment movement spreads, it will loosen the grip this industry has on our government and financial markets. Like the successful student-led movements before us, our college could be a leader in a significant nationwide movement that eventually impacts the national narrative on social issues. Colleges similar in size to Eckerd have been successful, including Hampshire College in Massachusetts and Unity College in Maine. Furthermore, a report by the investment-management firm Aperio Group indicates that when fossil fuel companies were excluded from investment, the risk to the investment portfolio is only increased by 0.0101% . When considering not only the future of our school but also of our planet, this is statistically negligible. Eckerd College is not a school made up of followers of the status quo. Through our liberal arts education, we have learned to challenge such perceptions and look forward with goals that ultimately better our social climate. Currently, our great institution’s endowment serves to help support companies that inadvertently profit from the release of CO2 and its contribution to global warming; these are serious issues that directly threaten life as we know it. For the good of our campus and our nation, and to preserve the quality of life for this and future generations worldwide, we call upon Eckerd to join a growing movement of institutions around the country that are committed to addressing the anthropogenic issues of the global environment by moving our endowment beyond fossil fuels, focusing instead on investments that are more in line with Eckerd’s mission of “sustaining the natural environment.”
    91 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Josh Lewis
  • Occidental College: Go Fossil Free!
    Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50bn in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on Occidental College to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of Occidental College will not only be a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.
    91 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Jim Powers
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Go Fossil Free!
    Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50bn in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will not only be a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.
    91 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Claire Superak
  • Gainesville
    Divest UF
    Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50 billion in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years.
    91 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Michael Aitken
  • Harvard University: Go Fossil Free!
    As Harvard continues to establish itself as a leader in campus sustainability, it must be ready to engage in sustainable practices at all levels-especially with regards to its investment activities. The effects of climate change are becoming increasingly clear. In this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted thousands of people and cost our country billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone is estimated to have caused $50bn in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on Harvard to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of Harvard will not only be a sound decision for our institution's financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos. Check out our website: www.divestharvard.com
    90 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Oliver Kerr
  • Butte College: Go Fossil Free!
    Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50bn in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on Butte College to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of Butte College will not only be a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.
    89 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Melody Leppard
  • Divest Uni of Brighton from Fossil Fuels (DUB)
    Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently. Brighton is portrayed as a green haven as the only area with a green constituency, however our University currently has no action towards divesting in fossil fuels. On the 17th of January 2020 the University of Brighton declared a climate emergency. They claimed that they are committed to sustainability having already 'delivered a 34% reduction in its carbon footprint since 2010'. Even so they are ignoring the fact that they still invest in fossil fuels which we find highly hypocritical as you cannot declare a climate emergency and still be funding fossil fuels. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years.
    87 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Zoe Ashby
  • Babson Park
    Babson College: Go Fossil Free!
    Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50bn in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on Babson College to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of Babson College will not only be a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.
    84 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Xiaokang Chen