To: The Management of HEC Paris

FOSSIL FREE HEC Paris

FOSSIL FREE HEC Paris

We, the students, professors and alumni of HEC Paris who are deeply concerned by the impacts of climate change, ask the management of our university, HEC Paris,

1) to provide transparency about the EUR 48.5m of investment securities currently held by the HEC Paris Foundation and disclose all investment vehicles which are directly or indirectly linked to fossil fuel companies.
2) to immediately freeze any new investments in fossil fuels.
3) to divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years.
4) and to invest all funds which are going to become available into renewable energies.

Why is this important?

The IPCC and other scholars have estimated that to have at least a 50% chance to stay below a temperature increase of 2°C within the 21st century, we have to limit the cumulative greenhouse gas emissions between 2011 and 2050 to approximately 1.100 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e)[1]. In contrast, research also discovered that global fossil fuel reserves contain 2900 GtCO2e in total, which means that at least 33% of global oil, 50% of global natural gas and over 80% of global coal reserves must remain unused in order to probably meet the 2°C target.[2]

Nevertheless, oil, gas and coal mining companies continue to invest hundreds of billions of dollars per year into the exploration and production of new reserves (USD 674bn in 2012)[3], although an extensive body of research from the University of Oxford, the Carbon Tracker Initiative in collaboration with the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Chatham House, HSBC, The Economist Intelligence Unit, Kepler Chevreux, the Bank of England, and from many more renowned organisations has underlined the high and growing carbon risk embedded in fossil fuel assets[4]. These assets will lose their value before the end of their economic life (known as stranded assets) if political leaders implement stricter climate policies necessary to limit global warming to 2°C. In addition to the continuation of business as usual, fossil fuel companies engage in lobbying and disinformation campaigns to prevent climate change legislation[5].These points illustrate that the fossil fuel companies' business model and practices are fundamentally inconsistent with climate change mitigation and undermine the globally supported 2°C target.

The investment in and support of fossil fuel companies to continue business as usual is neither in line with HEC's mission and values[6] nor does it contribute to climate change mitigation. If HEC Paris wants to educate and train global leaders of tomorrow to contribute to society as a whole, then HEC has to support a global legally binding climate agreement to be formulated and signed in Paris. Investments in fossil fuel companies which hold and are ready to produce a carbon-intensive asset base while pushing global temperature increase beyond 2°C are first and foremost a threat to the future of humanity and, in addition, pose a significant and urgent economic risk.

References:

[1] See McGlade, Ekins (2015). The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2°C. Nature. Vol. 517. January 2015.
[2] See McGlade, Ekins (2015). The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2°C. Nature. Vol. 517. January 2015; see also Mitchell et al. (2015). Oil and Gas Mismatches: Finance, Investment and Climate Policy. Research Paper of the Chatham House: The Royal Institute of International Affairs.
[3] See Carbon Tracker Initiative and Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science (2013). Unburnable Carbon 2013: Wasted capital and stranded assets.
[4] See Asnar et al. (2013). Stranded assets and the fossil fuel divestment campaign: what does divestment mean for the valuation of fossil fuel assets? Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford; and See Carbon Tracker Initiative and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science (2013). Unburnable Carbon 2013: Wasted capital and stranded assets; and see Mitchell et al. (2015).Oil and Gas Mismatches: Finance, Investment and Climate Policy. Research Paper of the Chatham House: The Royal Institute of International Affairs; and HSBC stated that "we believe stranding risks for assets are relatively high this year and growing." Paun et al. (2015). Stranded assets: what next? How investors can manage increasing fossil fuel risk. HSBC Global Research; and see The Economist Intelligence Unit (2015). The cost of inaction: recognising the value at risk from climate change; and Kepler Chevreux states that "USD 28trn of fossil-fuel revenues [are] at risk in a 450-ppm world"; Kepler Chevreux (2015). Stranded assets, fossilised revenues. ESG Sustainability Research; and see Carrington (2015). Bank of England warns of huge financial risk from fossil fuel investments. The Guardian Online.
[5] For an overview see for instance Fossil Free MIT (2014). The Fossil Fuel Industry’s Role in Hindering Climate Change Action: Lobbying and Disinformation Against Science and Scientists.
[6] See HEC Paris (2015). About HEC Paris: Mission and Values. HEC Paris website.

How it will be delivered

With the support of fellow students and faculty members, we collectively aim to positively engage and work with HEC's management towards a well balanced resolution.

Paris, France

Reasons for signing

  • Je suis une citoyenne lambda. Sans mère Nature pas de générations futures. Il est grand temps d'investir dans les énergies renouvelables. Ces investissements auront des effets bénéfiques socio-économiques; santé (moins de dépenses liées aux maladies respiratoires, cancer), la création d'entreprises et d'emplois. Le capitalisme est mort, il faut produire et consommer autrement dans le respect de l'homme, des animaux, des végétaux.

Updates

2015-10-01 11:14:38 -0400

100 signatures reached

2015-09-24 16:06:48 -0400

50 signatures reached

2015-09-21 08:43:04 -0400

25 signatures reached

2015-09-16 17:40:25 -0400

10 signatures reached