100 signatures reached
To: Queen's University Belfast
Set QUB Fossil Fuel Free
We the undersigned call upon Queen’s University Belfast to:
1) Publically disclose information concerning the details of the investments made using QUB’s endowment funds.
In particular, we call for the public disclosure of:
(a) A list of the companies which QUB is currently invested in,
(b) The amount currently invested in each company, and
(c) The annual returns being made on each investment.
2) Commit to immediately freeze any new investments, and the complete withdrawal of any existing investments by 2020, in:
(a) Companies whose main business is the extraction and/or production of fossil fuels, and
(b) Any co-mingled, or mutual funds that contain fossil fuel holdings.
Why is this important?
Queen's University Belfast has a proud history in human rights and medical research, and is committed to becoming 'a low carbon organisation'. However, uncertainty over the extent of the University's investments in the fossil fuel industry challenges QUB's commitments to human dignity, health and the transition to a low carbon society.
It is unclear to what extent QUB is invested in fossil fuels. QUB's latest annual accounts show endowment funds of approximately £52m - yet no details are publically available as to where the investments are held. A Freedom of Information request made in late 2014 asking for details has been refused and is currently under appeal.
On average, 4% of UK University endowments are invested in fossil fuels, therefore a rough estimate of QUB's fossil fuel investments would be £2.1m.
The ethical case for fossil fuel divestment is clear. The extraction, production and use of fossil fuels leads to untold numbers of deaths and illnesses every year; and climate change threatens the enjoyment of fundamental human rights. Climate change's effects are unfairly spread - in the words of Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson, "Climate change is a matter of justice. The richest countries caused the problem, but it is the world's poorest who are already suffering from its effects." QUB should not be investing in, or profiting from the fossil fuel industry.
Divestment makes financial sense too - fossil fuel investments are 'stranded assets'. If we want to keep the planet livable, we can only afford to extract and burn a fraction of existing fossil fuel reserves. Investments in fossil fuel industries are overvalued and risky to Queen's.
Fossil Free QUB is calling on the University to disclose information on its investments, commit to immediately freeze any new investments in the fossil fuel industry, and seek the complete withdrawal of any existing fossil fuel investments by 2020.