University of Auckland Council to vote on fossil fuel divestment
The University of Auckland could decide to divest its endowment funds from fossil fuel investments following a motion put forward for the upcoming University Council meeting on June 13th.
Students, staff and alumni have been urging the university to block investments in oil, gas and coal companies for the last year and a half because of moral concerns about funding climate change.
Auckland University Students’ Association President Will Matthews, who put forward the motion to the agenda and who sits on the University Council, said that divestment was a critical step for the University to take to align its investments with its values.
“If the University of Auckland takes climate change seriously then it should put its money where its mouth is and divest from fossil fuel industries.”
“Dozens of leading universities around the world such as Yale, Glasgow and Australian National University have taken moves to divest from fossil fuels. This is an important opportunity for us to take leadership on sustainable investment.”
The divestment campaign started on campus by student group Fossil Free UoA has garnered support from over 2800 staff, students and alumni who signed their petition calling for the establishment of an ethical investment policy. Currently the University Foundation’s lack of such a policy allows it to invest in other taboo industries such as tobacco and munitions.
2016 Young Alumna of the Year Dr Divya Dhar, in her statement of support for the cause, said: “climate change is a tragic reality for all of us, especially those that have and will become climate refugees. It is paramount that our university becomes a bastion of hope, in correcting this wrong, and building a sustainable fossil fuel free future.”
AUSA and Fossil Free UoA will be holding a rally before the University Council meeting to show the Council members that fossil fuel divestment has the support of the University community.
Said Matthews: “We owe it to the donors whose funds we are stewarding for the future that their money is not being used to fund climate change.”