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To: LSHTM School Council

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Divest

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London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Divest

As of December 2020, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has £116,507 invested in fossil fuel companies.

We call on the University to:

1. Divest its £ 24,163,411.00 endowment fund from all fossil fuel companies
2. Exclude all future investments in fossil fuels

Why is this important?

The 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
4. IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Summary
6. Meunshausen, M. et al., 2009. Greenhouse-gas emission targets for limiting global warming to 2 degrees C. Nature, 458(7242), pp.1158-62.

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Reasons for signing

  • I believe, we are about to loose our foot on this planet because of the way we -as human beings- have been behaving. We need to develop consciousness and start acting as we need to rescue the environment in order to continue enjoying its benefits for years to come. In other words: our footprint on this planet is not what It should have been: something ethereal and/or damaging free.
  • Our research highlights adverse health effects (due to climate change/pollution) that are a result of reliance on fossil fuels; our investments should reflect this... just as we would not wish to invest in the tobacco industry.
  • Investment in the major drivers of the biggest public health threat of the 21st century makes no sense for an institution dedicated to improving public health. Come on, LSHTM!


2021-03-08 09:17:02 -0500

Petition is successful with 495 signatures

2021-03-04 06:52:31 -0500

We have update the petition to reflect the latest figures for LSTHM's fossil fuel company investments as of December 2020.

2015-04-01 11:55:43 -0400

100 signatures reached

2015-01-26 12:01:43 -0500

50 signatures reached

2015-01-13 16:48:24 -0500

25 signatures reached

2015-01-12 15:31:08 -0500

10 signatures reached