Students Celebrate As University of Auckland Ditches Fossil Fuels

Yesterday, after a student-led campaign spanning more than five years, the University of Auckland committed to divest from fossil fuels.

The University of Auckland Foundation announced that it would divest from fossil fuel investments based on the Carbon Underground 200 List. They have also adopted a responsible investment policy which will help guide investment decisions under an Environmental Social Governance umbrella.

“We are ecstatic that our university has finally stepped up and is cutting its ties with the fossil fuel industry! After five years of campaigning, we could not be prouder of what we have helped to achieve; breaking the social licence of coal, oil and gas companies and showing the impact a people power movement can have,” said Isaac Ottley, spokesperson for Fossil Free UoA.

Since 2014 Fossil Free UoA has been campaigning for the University to stand on the right side of history and divest from the fossil fuel industry. This included an occupation of the Vice Chancellor’s office in 2017, lobbying, protest marches and an open letter from over 240 university staff.

“This decision sends a clear signal to the fossil fuel industry that our centres for future learning do not support their continued exploitation of our environment and fuelling of climate destruction.”

The University of Auckland joins Victoria University, the University of Otago, and over 1000 other institutions across the world, including dozens of universities, in dropping their fossil fuel investments. Globally, this accounts for $9.94 trillion (USD) in institutional wealth, with another $224 million now being added as a result of the University of Auckland’s divestment announcement.

“From the beginning, this campaign was about showing that it’s not acceptable for institutions and organisations to profit from the wrecking of our planet’s environment. In the age of climate breakdown where the Amazon is on fire and communities in Kiribati are facing record king tides, breaking free from fossil fuels is an ethical imperative – and we are proud that the University is fulfilling its role as critic and conscience of society in this way.”

The divestment decision comes as students at the University of Auckland prepare to stand alongside high schoolers at the upcoming Global Climate Strike on September 27th.

“This win represents the power of students standing up for all our futures – and we will be there on the 27th to stand alongside high schoolers, adults and workers to demand climate justice and show that a fossil-free future is within our grasp.”

“We encourage the Vice-Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon to join us in the streets and do everything within his power to enable staff and students and the University community to take part in the Global Climate Strike for all our futures.”