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To: Vice Chancellor at the University of Sussex, Professor Adam Tickell (formerly Michael Farthing)


This campaign has ended.

WE WON! The University of Sussex is now Fossil Free. Thank you for making this happen.
Check out our victory video:

The University of Sussex currently holds £9,446,000 worth of investments, with roughly 1.3 % of this total in fossil fuel exploration companies including Shell, BP and Rio Tinto. This industry is a key contributor to carbon emissions, and growing evidence suggests that only a fraction of these companies' reserves may be extracted and burned whilst maintaining a 2°C climatic warming target.

As it stands, the University considers its investment portfolio ethical, in that it does not include arms manufacturers, gambling or tobacco companies. However, an investment in fossil fuels should not be considered an ethical investment, assuming that protecting the environment and mitigating climate change is an ethic we choose to hold dear. We believe that it is vital that the University commits to take a strong stance in order to ensure that it makes sound, responsible investments in line with its role as a charity that is meant to serve the public good.

The University has rewritten its' investment policy to be 'socially responsible', to recommend that the university does not invest in fossil fuels. However, this is not binding, and despite the fact that some money has been moved and it has divested from coal and tar sand, the University still holds £118, 253 investments in fossil fuel exploration companies. This admittedly seems like quite a small figure, however we believe the University should divest entirely from these companies, taking a public and economical stance against such practices.

We call on The University of Sussex to:

1. Put into practice the new Ethical Investment Policy, and ensure that all investments are transparent, accountable and in line with the University’s other ethical and environmental standards.

2. Make divestment from the fossil fuel industry a commitment, not only a recommendation by entirely divesting from companies that threaten the environment, and actively committing to invest further in low-carbon assets and renewable energy within the next five years.

3. Help build a sustainable future for its students and future generations, by phasing out any sponsorship or funding provided by fossil fuel companies, agreeing not to award honorary degrees to members of the fossil fuel industry, and reconsidering the representation of fossil fuel companies at University careers events.

Why is this important?

According to the most recent projections, the world is headed on a course to global warming of 4 degrees by the end of this century if we carry on emitting CO2 at current rates. [1]

It is clear that fossil fuels are not the way forward, and that we must end our addiction to carbon and find sustainable energy alternatives before it is too late. Despite this, our governments and institutions continue to invest vast sums in companies extracting oil and gas, giving them huge public subsidies that have helped to make them some of the most profitable companies in the world.

The University of Sussex is renowned as a progressive institution, and we believe that the University should lead by example and join dozens of other universities, religious institutions and local governments across the world that have already committed to investing its money ethically, and going fossil free. Collectively, we have the opportunity to send an important signal to our governments and the private sector about the urgent moral and financial imperative of phasing out fossil fuels.

University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom

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2015-10-13 13:18:44 -0400

1,000 signatures reached

2014-03-23 15:35:44 -0400

100 signatures reached

2014-03-18 06:06:04 -0400

50 signatures reached

2014-03-17 14:58:49 -0400

25 signatures reached

2014-03-17 09:01:28 -0400

10 signatures reached