1,000 signatures reached
To: University of Bath
Divest the University of Bath from the Fossil Fuel Industry
The University of Bath has almost half a million pounds invested in fossil fuel companies including Shell and BP. We, the signatories, cannot accept that the university profits from the fossil fuel industry - responsible as it for enormous increases in global poverty, inequality and environmental destruction - and so we are calling on the University to:
• Publicly commit to excluding the fossil fuel industry from its current investment portfolio;
• Completely divest from the fossil fuel industry within three years, shifting instead to lower risk, ethical investments;
• Publicly commit to excluding the fossil fuel industry from any future investments, and to strengthen its Investment Policy such that prospective financial returns are not allowed to supersede the Code of Ethics.
The University of Bath should be proud to divest from the fossil fuel industry and, in so doing, join a rapidly growing global movement of respected institutions who are taking responsibility for the part they have to play in climate change.
Why is this important?
The world has committed to keeping global warming below 2 degrees. To achieve this, over 80% of the proven fossil fuel reserves will have to stay in the ground (1) - we simply cannot afford to continue to invest in this industry.
However, the arguments against fossil fuel investments are not just environmental. Economically, it is clearly unsustainable to rely on non-renewable resources. The price of oil is already volatile and is a significant source of financial risk (2) whereas, in contrast, low-carbon investments are becoming increasingly profitable (3).
Divestment is a proven, powerful tool for people to collaborate and directly effect large scale change. It was, for example, a key strategy in the ending of South African apartheid and the stigmatisation of the tobacco industry, and will be a key player in the global transition to sustainable energy sources.
The University of Bath has fossil fuel holdings totalling half a million pounds including over £100,000 in Shell alone (4). Our call is for the university to divest these holdings and publicly commit to never investing in them again. The activities of these companies are completely incompatible with the university’s own mission (5) and is at odds with much of the work on campus, from the research at the CSCT (6) and the IPR (7) to the discussions at the I-SEE (8).
The campaign here at Bath is part of the wider Fossil Free movement – an accumulation of grassroots campaigns at a diverse range of respected institutions around the world, from Le Louvre museum in Paris to the University of Cambridge here in the UK. A quarter of universities in the UK have already committed to divesting, and Bath should be proud to join their ranks. Many of these forward-thinking universities had far more invested (9), so what we are demanding is not out of reach.
The wider statement that the University of Bath will make when it divests will be significant and will extend far beyond the removal of the raw finances. In divesting from fossil fuels, the University will be:
- Showing solidarity with communities already bearing the brunt of the effects of climate change, most of whom have contributed little to the problem;
- Helping to reclaim our democracy from the power of fossil fuel lobbying groups (10);
- Contributing to the stigmatisation of the fossil fuel industry: “the most far-reaching threat to fossil fuel companies” (11);
- Influencing public discourse on climate change: leading the way for other UK universities and policy makers, too.
It is time for the University of Bath to realise how incompatible a safe climate future is with these fossil fuel relationships, and to take meaningful action to go fossil free.
This petition for a Fossil Free Bath complements Bath SU policy (12) voted through by 60% of students in early 2016.
How it will be delivered
This petition will be delivered to the University Finance Committee as part of a paper that has already received support from the University Sustainability and Carbon Management Steering Group and the Student Union.