People & Planet
If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage.
UK universities support the fossil fuel industry directly - through the £5.2bn worth of their endowments invested in fossil fuel companies - and indirectly through their research and their partnerships with some of the biggest companies in the world, like BP and Shell.
Students have decided to take on the fossil fuel industry by getting our universities to go Fossil Free. People & Planet -- Britain's largest student activist network -- has joined forces with 350.org to bring the fossil fuel divestment campaign to UK institutions.
We believe that our educational institutions should serve the public good and live up to their promises to tackle climate change. No UK university in their right mind accepts funding from or invest their funds in tobacco companies these days -- it’s inconsistent with their research on cancer and health. Investing in the fossil fuel companies causing climate change is a bad investment, and yet most universities still do not recognise this. That’s about to change!
Creating a Fossil Free petition
To get your whole university (or other institution) talking about your campaign, create your own online petition. You’ll have full control over the wording and design of your petition. This petition allows you to share it easily on social media and build your contacts list - you can email the people who’ve signed to keep them updated about your campaign progress and events.
NB: Students! If you need advice in designing your campaign and petition text, contact People & Planet on email@example.com or 01865 264180
Get started, click "New Campaign" below:
New Campaign Campaigns
Divest Lancaster University from Unethical InvestmentIt's 2021 and Lancaster University is STILL investing in fossil fuels to the tune of £171,753. UK universities support the fossil fuel industry directly through investments in companies such as BP and Shell. Lancaster University's involvement with this industry is incompatible with their image as a green university, actively promoting renewable energy and sustainability. When this campaign began in 2014 around 14% of the university's current investments were in fossil fuels and nearly 4% of investments were in the arms trade. These investments are incompatible with the view of Lancaster as an ethical and environmentally friendly university, and we believe an increased awareness and lobbying by students will encourage the university management to adopt an ethical investment policy. Link to our most up to date information on the University's investments: https://peopleandplanet.org/university/129384#fossil-free-scorecard Link to our early research: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/university_investments_2?nocache=incoming-575353#incoming-5753531,364 of 2,000 SignaturesCreated by Orla McKeon-Carter
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine DivestThe School states there are ethical restrictions on its investments, that its guiding values include environmental sustainability and that among its aims are to ‘ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the School’ (3). It is clear the School’s values, aims and ethical responsibilities would converge on a commitment to divest from fossil fuels. Environment: The School funds research into the effects of climate change on health whilst simultaneously profiting from fossil fuels, the root cause of climate change. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report chapter on ‘Human Health: Impacts, Adaptation, and Co-Benefits’ edited by Prof. Andy Haines, has raised awareness about the health impacts of climate change and pollution. The IPCC report states that ‘People who are socially, economically, culturally, politically, institutionally or otherwise marginalized are especially vulnerable to climate change’ (4). Climate change is, according to the Lancet, ‘the greatest threat to human health in the 21 century’. One of the guiding principles of medical practice is ‘do no harm’; as a school rooted in medicine and health these values should not only be applied to immediate practises, but to the full range of the School’s activities. Finance: The share prices of the companies the school is invested in are dependant on the value of their known carbon reserves. More than 100 countries have adopted a global warming limit of 2 °C or below (relative to pre-industrial levels) as a guiding principle for mitigation efforts to reduce climate change risks, impacts and damage (6). In order to keep global warming below this threshold 80% of known carbon reserves will have to remain in the ground (7). Recently the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, told the World Bank that ‘the majority of the world’s reserves are unburnable’ (8) and commissioned the bank to examine “the vulnerability that fossil fuel assets could pose to the stability of the financial system in a carbon constrained world” (9). The School is unnecessarily exposing itself to stranded assets. The current low price of oil and instability of the market are reflected in the share values of the School’s three direct fossil fuel investments, all of which have fallen 20% since June 2014. It must be recognised that these investments are inherently unstable and not a sustainable place to invest the School’s endowments. We, students and staff at LSHTM, demand that the School must break ties with the fossil fuel industry. We want LSHTM to: • Identify and publicly report all financial ties, contracts and agreements with the fossil fuel industry including direct and indirect (e.g. via banks and co-mingled funds) investments, sponsorship and advertising agreements, and research funding. • End current investments in fossil fuel companies immediately and shift funds to lower risk, ethical investments. • No longer partner with or accept funding from fossil fuel companies. • Terminate existing agreements and contracts, including sponsorships, advertising, and funding. • Make no future investments or partnerships with fossil fuel companies. • Set and publish timelines for completion of all demands, including regular progress reports and an analysis of potential risks and causes of delay, all of which are easily accessible online, not just by request 1. Freedom of Information Request, 3/12/2014 2. http://fossilfreeindexes.com/the-carbon-underground-2014/ 3. http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/aboutus/introducing/mission/strategy_2012_2017.pdf 4. IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Summary 5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-29310475 6. Meunshausen, M. et al., 2009. Greenhouse-gas emission targets for limiting global warming to 2 degrees C. Nature, 458(7242), pp.1158-62. 7. 350.org 8. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/13/mark-carney-fossil-fuel-reserves-burned-carbon-bubble 9. http://www.carbontracker.org/news/bank-of-englands-momentous-move-on-climate-change/495 of 500 SignaturesCreated by Alice Munro
Divest BirkbeckInvestment in fossil fuel industries drives fossil fuel consumption and its negative social and environmental impacts. Burning coal, oil, and gas release CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, both warming and polluting the planet. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if the status quo continues, the planet could warm by almost 5°C by 2100. This would have a catastrophic impact on human life. It would mean that our planet bears little resemblance to the one in which “civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted”, as James Hansen, a top climate scientist at NASA, put it. The second reason is that investment in these companies gives implicit support to their activities. It is a matter of social justice and duty that the University withdraw its investments in companies that actively contribute to global warming, the burden of which is being felt disproportionately by the world’s poorest countries, who are contributing least to climate change. Not only does this exacerbate global poverty, but it also perpetuates further social inequality between the global South and the global North. Divestment from fossil fuel firms will help remove fossil fuel companies’ social license to exploit the world's most impoverished nations. The third reason is that investment in fossil fuel companies runs contrary to the University’s environmental priorities. The University is pledging to reduce carbon emissions and embed sustainability into its business model and institutions' culture. It intends to be fully compliant with environmental legislation and promote environmental responsibility. On this basis and in light of the Paris agreement, we believe that we must act to help avert irreversible damage to ecosystems and life on earth. Fossil fuel companies are now subject to regulations aimed at preventing climate change. Recent research has shown that, if regulators are serious about mitigating climate change, a third of global oil reserves, half of all gas reserves, and over 80% of coal reserves will have to remain in the ground to limit global warming to 2ºC. This means fossil fuel firms would have to massively write down the value of assets on their balance sheets, leading to huge and sustained destruction in shareholder value. By divesting from fossil fuels, the University will join a long list of respected institutions already committed to going fossil free, which include over 50% of all UK universities (https://sustainability.nus.org.uk/divest-investold/articles/over-50-of-uk-universities-divest-from-fossil-fuels), including Goldsmiths, Bath Spa University, Manchester University, Oxford City Council, Trinity College, the World Council of Churches, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The global divestment campaign is growing, and together we can make a statement about how we want our future to look. We urge all students, alumni, staff and members of the public to sign the petition to support the divestment campaign at Birkbeck, and an end to social and environmental devastation. _________________________________ NOTE: This petition was updated on 25 February 2021 to reflect the latest available investment figures disclosed by Birkbeck in January 2021.405 of 500 SignaturesCreated by Suzanne Henry
Divest York from Fossil FuelsThe University is failing in this commitment to not knowingly invest in companies whose practices pose a risk of harm to individuals or groups. The combustion of fossil fuels is responsible for 87% of all human carbon dioxide emissions which drastically contributes to anthropogenic climate change which in turn kills approximately 600,000 people yearly. As of last calculations, the University of York has £217000 invested in Fossil Fuels, and with 68 Universities already having pledged their commitment to divest from Fossil Fuels -including our rivals York St. John, it's about time the University of York did the same. The University of Edinburgh has divested over £6.3 million from fossil fuels, surely York can divest £217000.1,301 of 2,000 SignaturesCreated by YUSU Environment
Divest money from fossil fuels Loughborough University!Loughborough's endowment fund (http://alumni.lboro.ac.uk/page.aspx?pid=1062), with one part funded by alumni to benefit generation upon generation of students through the interest the fund earns, should not do so at the expense of our planet. If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage. Too many UK universities support the fossil fuel industry directly through their research, their endowments and investments and their partnerships with some of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world like BP and Shell. UK students have decided to take on the fossil fuel industry by getting our universities to go Fossil Free. People & Planet is joining forces with the 350.org campaign that has been sweeping across North American campuses. We believe that our educational institutions should serve the public good and live up to their promises to tackle climate change. No UK university in their right mind would accept funding from or invest their funds in tobacco companies these days - it’s inconsistent with their research on cancer. The same holds true for fossil fuel companies causing climate change and yet most universities still do not recognise this. That’s about to change! 200 publicly-traded companies hold the vast majority of the world’s proven coal, oil and gas reserves. Those are the companies we’ll be asking our institutions to break their links with. Together they hold five times more carbon in their fossil fuel reserves than we can safely afford to burn to stop runaway climate change. It’s that simple…if you do the maths. From Canada’s dirty tar sands to Arctic drilling and hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) for shale gas - the fossil fuel industry is scraping the bottom of the barrel and causing huge environmental and human devastation in the process. Withdrawing our institutions’ financial and moral backing for this climate-wrecking industry is crucial to tackling climate change.1,015 of 2,000 SignaturesCreated by LSU Ethics and Environment
Divest Imperial from Fossil FuelsClimate change has been described as the most serious challenge of our generation. Under the United Nations Copenhagen Accord, countries have agreed to limit warming to 2 degrees to prevent dangerous climate change. Moreover, investing in fossil fuels poses a serious financial risk. According to recent research led by Professor Lord Stern at LSE, two-thirds of current fossil fuels reserves are unburnable if climate change is to be kept to the globally-agreed limit of 2 degrees of warming . In this regard, we call upon the Endowment Fund Board to issue explicit guidance to ensure the funds are divested away from fossil fuels, for the sake of current and future generations. References:  FOI Request  People & Planet, Platform, 350.org: http://peopleandplanet.org/dl/fossil-free/knowledge-power-report.pdf  Carbon Tracker Initiative Report (Carbon Tracker & The Grantham Research Institute, LSE) : http://www.carbontracker.org/wastedcapital2,065 of 3,000 SignaturesCreated by Tara Clarke
University of Liverpool: Divest from Fossil FuelsThis is important because the University of Liverpool currently invests £12 million per year in the fossil fuel industry, which is 8% of their endowment. The time to reduce fossil fuel consumption is running out, and by not divesting, the University appears to be endorsing the actions of the fossil industry, and thereby failing to act on the issue of human-induced climate change. Climate change negatively affects the poorest most, and by not divesting from fossil fuels the University shows a callous disregard for the poorest populations and most vulnerable. The university is home to a leading institute for renewable energy research, yet they cannot actively be a world leader in green energy whilst funding the most polluting industry on earth. The students of this University clearly care about the environment and have created a movement within their Guild of Students to help implement a greener University (Green Guild). If this University wishes to abide by the active will of the student body, they will divest from this morally corrupt and ethically questionable industry without delay.199 of 200 SignaturesCreated by Joe Ferguson
UCL, DIVEST FROM FOSSIL FUELSClimate change has already caused millions to lose their lives and livelihoods after only one degree of global average warming . ‘Business as usual’ scenarios see us facing up to six degrees of warming and hundreds of millions suffering. It’s time to take this problem on at its source: the fossil fuel companies. If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage. UCL cannot continue to use its funds from students, alumni, trusts and grant-making bodies to fund fossil fuel companies through its portfolio of investments. UCL's academics show a strong consensus on the effects of climate change, taking it into account in their research and making constructive proposals for how we can respond to and overcome it as a society. UCL is giving money to further this positive research yet chooses to invest in the fossil fuel industry, the root cause of climate change. This shows massive disrespect to their own staff, to the future of their students, and to all those around the world suffering the effects of climate change but also from the human right violations carried out by fossil fuel companies. With 1/4 of UK universities now having divested, 16 of which in the last year, UCL is losing its chance to lead the way towards a more sustainable world, proving that management prioritises profit over the protection of the environment, the future generations and the voice of thousands of students and academic staff who support divestment. In the ultimatum letter we sent to management in November 2016 we received more than 100 signatures from academic staff who support divestment . How long will management keep disregarding the views of its student body and staff? One of the few counter-arguments management has presented is that they are scared divestment would negatively affect UCL's engineering department. However there is no evidence that by divesting UCL will risk its sponsorship from fossil fuel companies and jeopardise the ties the Engineering department have with them. All other universities who have divested still maintain links with the companies with no effect on their students future relations with these companies whatsoever. It is therefore high time we DEMOCRATISED our university and TAKE ACTION to prevent further planetary degradation. We as students, academics and above all citizens, have the power to change the world. References:  http://www.ucl.ac.uk/white-paper/mission  UCL Investment Portfolio, December 2012.  http://www.carbontracker.org/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/08/Unburnable-Carbon-Full1.pdf, p.13-14.  UCL Ethical Investment Policy, http://www.ucl.ac.uk/finance/finance_docs/investment_policy.htm  DARA, Climate Vulnerability Number 2010 http://daraint.org/climate-vulnerability-monitor/climate-vulnerability-monitor-2010/  Open Letter to UCL Management http://fossilfreeucl.tumblr.com/openletter3,577 of 4,000 SignaturesCreated by Natasha Gorodnitski
SUSSEX UNIVERSITY DIVESTMENT CAMPAIGN - WE WONAccording to the most recent projections, the world is headed on a course to global warming of 4 degrees by the end of this century if we carry on emitting CO2 at current rates.  It is clear that fossil fuels are not the way forward, and that we must end our addiction to carbon and find sustainable energy alternatives before it is too late. Despite this, our governments and institutions continue to invest vast sums in companies extracting oil and gas, giving them huge public subsidies that have helped to make them some of the most profitable companies in the world. The University of Sussex is renowned as a progressive institution, and we believe that the University should lead by example and join dozens of other universities, religious institutions and local governments across the world that have already committed to investing its money ethically, and going fossil free. Collectively, we have the opportunity to send an important signal to our governments and the private sector about the urgent moral and financial imperative of phasing out fossil fuels.2,048 of 3,000 SignaturesCreated by Rachel Mohun
University of Exeter Fossil Free CampaignJPMorgan Chase is one of the worlds largest investment banks and as such has its fingers in a great many pots. Unfortunately some of these pots come with some truly terrible baggage, from fossil fuels to animal testing JPMorgan invests in them all. This sadly includes being the US's largest share holders in PetroChina, a company which has been widely recognized and condemned for helping finance genocide in Sudan. That means in a single company your tuition fees have direct connections to both the worsening of Climate Change and a Genocide that stills claims more than 100 lives every day. For a University to profit from any of these causes is wrong beyond belief but to be involved in all of them and more is a complete catastrophe. By signing you are telling the University that this cannot continue and that you support the campaign for not just a Fossil Free Exeter but an Ethically Invested Exeter as well.696 of 800 SignaturesCreated by Robin Ellis-Cockcroft