To: Vice Chancellor Shearer West

Divest The University Of Nottingham From Fossil Fuels

Profiting from environmental destruction is unethical. In line with the University of Nottingham’s already environmentally friendly reputation, the student body wishes to see development and expansion of current policies in order to further prevent such destruction. The student body requests that the university:

Freezes any new investments in fossil fuel companies.

Divests from the fossil fuel industry and shifts funds to lower risk, ethical investments within 5 years.

Why is this important?

The University of Nottingham’s (UoN) investment policy states that investment in companies which demonstrate ‘’explicit environmental damage’’ will not take place [1]. Yet, the fossil fuel companies Royal Dutch Shell, BP, BHP Billiton, Total and Centrica make up 11.08% of UoN’s portfolio and the total market value of the University’s investment in fossil fuels is £3,952,351 as of 31 July 2014.
Investing in fossil fuel companies is not achieving the university’s aim “to act in an environmentally responsible way.’’ [2] BP as an example have shut down its solar business [3] and invested only 2% of profits into alternative energy between 2005 and 2015 [4]. It has not made new targets for alternative energy investments. Shockingly, BP were responsible for the 11 deaths and 4.9 million barrels of oil leaked in the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystem. [5]
Fossil Fuel exploration is needless. There is more proven oil and gas reserves than can be safely burnt without exceeding a global average temperature rise of 2 degrees, the widely regarded dangerous threshold. Burning fossil fuels contributes directly to climate change [6], leading to water scarcity [7, UoN research] as well as increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Arctic Ice thickness has also decreased 40 percent since the 1960s, endangering arctic wildlife. By divesting in fossil fuels, the university will help prevent the numerous effects of climate change, increase its reputation as a leading ‘Green University’ and make us as students feel proud that our education doesn’t come at an environmental cost.
UoN did well in the People and Planets comprehensive sustainable university league table and ranked 42nd. A move to more ethical investments would improve the universities ranking. The University of Glasgow received recognition [8] for their pledge of divestment from fossil fuels. A similar pledge will, set a positive example for the hundreds of divestment campaigns across the world cementing UoN as a leading global university.

[1] https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/governance/documents/investment-policy.pdf
[2] http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/about/documents/environmentalstrategy200910.pdf
[3] http://www.bp.com/en/global/alternative-energy/our-businesses/solar-power.html
[4] http://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/pdf/sustainability/group-reports/BP_Sustainability_Review_2013.pdf
[5] www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13123036
[6] https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr_spm.pdf
[7] http://nottingham.ac.uk/globalfoodsecurity/strands/climatechangeandenvironmentalimpact/index.aspx
[8] http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/08/glasgow-becomes-first-university-in-europe-to-divest-from-fossil-fuels

University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom

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Updates

2018-01-30 09:35:34 -0500

1,000 signatures reached

2015-06-13 15:36:37 -0400

500 signatures reached

2015-02-13 17:11:26 -0500

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2015-02-13 11:56:57 -0500

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2015-02-12 18:59:37 -0500

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2015-02-12 13:37:01 -0500

10 signatures reached