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To: University of Otago Council & Foundation Trust

University of Otago: Divest from Fossil Fuel Extraction

University of Otago: Divest from Fossil Fuel Extraction

We urge the University of Otago and the Foundation Trust to create a socially responsible investment policy in which these entities commit to a) immediately freezing any new investments in fossil fuel extraction b) divesting of all holdings, direct and indirect, the from fossil fuel extraction industry within five years, and c) screening for, and excluding, fossil fuel extraction from all of the entities' future investment portfolios.

Why is this important?

The Global Context
In 2009, 114 countries signed the Copenhagen accord, in which they agreed that the world must work together to limit global warming to a safe level, below a 2°C rise based on pre-industrial temperatures. The Carbon Tracker Initiative has shown that only 565 more gigatonnes of CO2 can be released if we want to remain under that threshold. Today the fossil fuel industry has enough in reserve to emit 2795 gigatonnes of CO2, despite this, the industry still invests substantial money in the quest for more fossil fuels.

The Financial Side
We urge the University of Otago and associated Foundation Trust to avoid fossil fuel extraction investments as they are economically insecure in the long-term. HSBC, one of the world's largest banks, has published a report indicating that major oil and gas companies could lose up to 60% of their market value if the existing international protocols on emissions reduction are enforced. Furthermore, leading global investment research firm MSCI has stated that fossil fuel divestment “has the potential to reduce overall portfolio risk because of Energy Sector volatility”.

Commitment to Sustainability
The University of Otago has committed to “contributing to the National Good and International Progress” while being “a national exemplar in corporate, social and environmental sustainability” with the goal to self assess with regards to “climate change [...] endowment transparency, investment priorities,” among others. Now is time for the University of Otago align its investments with these sustainability commitments.

As the country’s first university, Otago has a reputation in leading innovation in New Zealand. Dozens of universities worldwide have already divested from fossil fuels, including notable Stanford University and locally Victoria University in Wellington and supported by the Tertiary Education Union. Come on Otago, your motto says it all: “Sapere Aude” (Dare to be Wise).

How it will be delivered

The petition will be delivered in person at a University of Otago Council meeting.

Want to get involved? Contact us: [email protected]

University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL


2015-07-12 18:12:05 -0400

1,000 signatures reached

2015-07-05 16:37:59 -0400

850 signatures and still going strong! Read our article in the Critic

2015-05-27 19:15:36 -0400

500 signatures reached

2015-05-21 18:27:00 -0400

260 signatures reached at Market Day yesterday! Wooo Hooo!

2015-05-11 00:32:25 -0400

100 signatures reached

2015-05-08 06:17:50 -0400

50 signatures reached

2015-05-08 00:22:12 -0400

25 signatures reached

2015-05-07 18:10:01 -0400

10 signatures reached