500 signatures reached
To: Members of the University Court of St Andrews
Fossil Free St Andrews
The University of St Andrews has historically committed itself to investing ethically and was one of the first universities to enact an ethical investment policy - the forerunner to the current Sustainable Investment Policy. We believe our University’s investments should support the “protection of the global environment, its climate and its biodiversity” as stated in this policy and we support the University in its drive to become carbon neutral for energy.
We therefore call on the University Court to renew its commitment to the principles of its sustainable investment policy and ambition to be carbon neutral for energy by divesting from fossil fuel extraction companies. Specifically we call on the University to lead by example and to:
1. Make an immediate statement of principle expressing its intention to divest its financial holdings in fossil fuel extraction companies within three years.
2. Cease with immediate effect any increase in its holdings beyond the current assessment of fossil fuel extraction companies.
3. Entirely divest its financial holdings from fossil fuel extraction companies within three years of submission of this petition and write into its sustainable investment policy never to invest in fossil fuel extracting companies again.
4. Explore and implement investment strategies targeted at renewable energy technologies.
Why is this important?
The reasons we make these demands are twofold; preventing mitigating the impacts of catastrophic climate change and renewing the University's commitment to sustainability.
The scientific community has long held the consensus that two degrees Celsius of warming will cause rising sea levels, droughts, biodiversity loss and more extreme weather fronts amongst other phenomena. Global oil, gas and coal reserves held by extraction companies contain five times more carbon than the planet's atmosphere can handle safely. Burning just 20% of this would be enough to incur runaway climate change. Divestment is thus a powerful moral and cultural tool to avert this.
The University of St Andrews has a proud history of ethical investment. Indeed it is one of only three universities in the UK with an explicit sustainable investment policy. St Andrews has embraced sustainable development in its research and operations; it was the first in the UK to introduce a teaching programme in Sustainable Development in 2004 and boasts a host of environmental and research institutes such as as the St Andrews Sustainability Institute (SASI). Most of our fund has been divested from fossil fuels, we should thus go one extra step and rid fossil fuels from our investment portfolio altogether.
As a member of the University this is not only your opportunity to ensure a better world, but your responsibility to both future generations and in supporting the University's desire to become carbon neutral for energy. Please sign this petition to ensure that future.
How it will be delivered
The petition will be collected amongst the student body between now and the University Court's end of term meeting on June 17. It will be delivered to them on the morning of the vote, seeking the support of the Students' Representative Council