To: Executive Board of Directors of Wageningen University & Research

Call to switch to a sustainable bank

Call to switch to a sustainable bank

To embody our underlying values for sustainable development, we need all hands and heads. Together, we can make this transition towards a carbon neutral society. Therefore, we, Fossil Free Wageningen, and the following students, alumni, staff members, teachers, and professors, ask Wageningen University & Research to bring this university a step closer to being a fossil free university by committing to switching to a truly sustainable bank.

Why is this important?

Anthropogenic climate change poses a threat to humans and natural systems on a global scale. Temperatures are rising rapidly: nine out of ten of the warmest years ever recorded in human history occurred after 2000 [1], and global temperatures continue to break records in 2016 [2]. Sea levels are steadily rising, extreme weather events are expected to occur more frequently, and oceans are acidifying at a frightening rate. Species are threatened with mass extinction and humans are displaced from their homes [3]. It is clear that efforts must be undertaken to stop climate change sooner rather than later.

At the end of 2015, world leaders got together for COP21 in Paris and agreed to “[hold] the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels” [4]. If we are to take this ambition seriously, then we need to put a strict limit on the amount of fossil fuels that can still be used. In fact, we effectively have a ‘carbon budget’. This carbon budget clearly shows that a large part of the currently operational coal mines and gas and oil fields cannot be exploited at all, if we do not want to exceed 1.5 or 2 °C global warming [5].

Wageningen University & Research is renowned for its high quality education and research programmes [6], as well as for its sustainable practices [7]. With regards to sustainability and corporate social responsibility, Wageningen University & Research states that its goal is “to take a leading role in the area of sustainable operational management” and the institute shows that it is working on increasing sustainability in many ways [8]. However, one aspect of sustainability that has not been considered sufficiently, in our opinion, is finance.

As the world has sensibly placed a carbon budget on its emissions, it has become evident that current and future investments in the fossil fuel industry can be regarded as irresponsible and unwise. Wageningen University & Research indirectly contributes to these investments through their use of two unsustainable banks: ABN AMRO and Rabobank. These banks score particularly poorly on the aspect of climate change, as highlighted by EerlijkeBankwijzer [9]. They are responsible for substantial financial support to fossil fuel industries through loans and shareholding practices [10]. Investing in fossil fuel extraction, as ABN AMRO and Rabobank do, is absolutely incompatible with the internationally agreed upon limit of 2 °C global warming.

Fortunately, there is a suitable alternative. Triodos Bank is the only bank in the Netherlands that does not invest in the fossil fuel industry [11] and is capable of taking on large institutions as their clients. Furthermore, we believe Triodos Bank’s mission and key values [12] are highly consistent with those of Wageningen University & Research. Through a personal meeting with a representative of Triodos Bank, Fossil Free Wageningen has become convinced that it is possible to make the transition to this sustainable bank. Wageningen University & Research now has the opportunity to be a frontrunner on truly all aspects of sustainability and to become the leading institution on sustainability that it aims to be.

To embody our underlying values for sustainable development, we need all hands and heads. Together, we can make this transition towards a carbon neutral society. Therefore, we, Fossil Free Wageningen, and the following students, alumni, staff members, teachers, and professors, ask Wageningen University & Research to bring this university a step closer to being a fossil free university by committing to switching to a truly sustainable bank.

References:
[1] http://climate.nasa.gov/
[2] http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20160719/
[3] http://ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/AR5_SYR_FINAL_SPM.pdf
[4] http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09.pdf
[5] http://priceofoil.org/2016/09/22/the-skys-limit-report/
[6] http://www.wur.nl/en/About-Wageningen/Scientific-prominence-Wageningen-University-Research.htm
[7] http://www.studentenvoormorgen.nl/uitslag-2016/
[8] http://www.wur.nl/en/About-Wageningen/Sustainability.htm
[9] http://eerlijkegeldwijzer.nl/bankwijzer/
[10] http://eerlijkegeldwijzer.nl/media/60922/2015-11-praktijkonderzoek-undermining-our-future.pdf
[11] https://www.triodos.com/en/investment-management/impact-investment/our-sectors/energy-and-climate/
[12] https://www.triodos.com/en/about-triodos-bank/who-we-are/mission-principles/what-we-stand-for/

Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen, Nederland

Reasons for signing

  • For a better environment
  • Changing to a more sustainable bank is an easy step with a big impact.
  • To make a difference

Updates

2017-02-02 06:10:25 -0500

1,000 handtekeningen verzameld

2016-11-14 06:53:42 -0500

500 signatures reached

2016-10-10 12:41:09 -0400

100 handtekeningen verzameld

2016-10-10 09:03:43 -0400

50 signatures reached

2016-10-10 07:04:42 -0400

25 signatures reached

2016-10-10 06:48:56 -0400

10 signatures reached