To: The University of San Francisco
Because it is unconscionable to pay for our education with investments that will condemn the planet to climate disaster, we call on University of San Francisco to immediately freeze any new investments in fossil-fuel companies. We require USF to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds.
Why is this important?
The impacts of a warming planet have been made evident in the past year by record breaking temperatures, alarming projections of future sea-level rise, and links between drought, rising tensions in the middle east, and the ongoing refugee crisis.
Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The poorest and most vulnerable will experience the effects of this changing climate first and most dramatically. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves if we want to keep warming at or below a level that has deemed safe by world leaders and the scientific community.
The companies that hold these reserves spend incredible amounts of money every year funding climate change denial and lobbying our elected officials to not enact legislation that would hasten the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. Therefore, it is impossible for USF to avoid hypocrisy if they continue to invest in an industry that's business plan runs counter to the university's moral conscience and values. Let's follow our peers who have divested at Stanford University, Georgetown University, the University of California system, San Francisco State University, California's state pension fund, Norway's sovereign wealth fund, and hundreds of other institutions whose total value exceeds $3 trillion dollars. The example set by these institutions demonstrates that USF can divest from fossil fuel companies without negatively affecting returns on its endowment.
As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on University of San Francisco to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of USF will not only be a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio, but also will further align the university's actions with its values.