To: The University of Auckland School of Medicine Foundation

Divest the Auckland University School of Medicine Foundation from Fossil Fuels

1. Immediately freeze any new investments in fossil fuels.
2. Divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years.
3. Develop an ethical investment policy that excludes investments in activities that harm human and environmental health.

Why is this important?

Climate change is occurring at unprecedented rates, thanks in large part to the massive amounts of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere by the fossil fuel industry. 2014 was the hottest year in recorded history. And yet, in 2009, 114 countries had already signed the Copenhagen accord, in which they agreed that the world must work together to limit global warming to a safe level of not more than 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures. The Carbon Tracker initiative has shown that we can only afford to emit 565 more gigatonnes of CO2 if we want to remain under that threshold. We would emit 2795 gigatonnes of CO2 if we burned all the reserves already discovered, though, and the industry still invests millions in finding new reserves.

Every institution that divests from fossil fuels helps to erode the industry's social license to operate. We urge the University of Auckland School of Medicine Foundation to demonstrate that they do not wish to align themselves with an industry which is not only unethical but also economically insecure in the long-term. HSBC, one of the world's largest banks, has published a report indicating that major oil and gas companies could lose up to 60% of their market value if the existing international protocols on emissions reduction are enforced. Furthermore, leading global investment research firm MSCI has stated that fossil fuel divestment even “has the potential to reduce overall portfolio risk because of Energy Sector volatility”.

The University of Auckland’s Medical School aims to achieve; “aims to improve the health and wellbeing of our local, national and global communities through excellence in teaching, research and service,” yet our medical school is likely receiving funds from fossil fuel activities that are in direct contravention to this noble goal. Therefore it would make sense for the foundation to openly declare their divestment from the fossil fuel industry and set an example for other foundations within the University and the wider country

Once again, we, the undersigned, students of the University of Auckland Medical School ,urge the University of Auckland Medical School Foundation to look to the future by creating an ethical investment policy in which the Foundation and the University commits to divestment of all holdings, direct and indirect, from the fossil fuel industry within five years and to the exclusion of this industry from all of its future investment portfolios.

Auckland, New Zealand

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2015-10-21 20:18:25 -0400

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