Oxford University has asked its endowment office, Oxford University Endowment Management (OUem), to divest its endowment from fossil fuel companies, and engage with fund managers to request evidence of net zero carbon business plans across their portfolios.
Over £3 billion of endowment is managed for the University in the OEF, and many of the colleges and other trusts across the University.
There will also be a new member of the Investment Committee, with experience of both endowment management, but with an additional focus on climate-conscious investment.
The University is also developing its own new environmental sustainability strategy, giving further impetus to its commitment to cutting carbon emissions.
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The new decision has been agreed among stakeholders across the University, including the Student Union, other student-led organisations, academic researchers and OUem, who manage investments for the University in the Oxford Endowment Fund (OEF).
Announcing the divestment decision, the University’s Council noted OUem’s sector-leading work to date in reducing the endowment’s exposure to fossil fuels to very low levels, below that of many other institutions. Since 2007, OUem investment in the energy sector has declined from an estimated 8.5% of the endowment to 2.6%. This includes renewable energy and just 0.6% of the endowment is now in fossil fuel extractors. OUem has also made substantial investments in solutions to climate change and in sustainability.
Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, said: “Coupled with our research strengths, our new approach will enhance our position as a world leader in reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change before it is too late.”
Sandra Robertson, CEO and CIO of OUem, said: ‘The Fund is a globally diversified portfolio of investments, chosen to make returns over the long term in a sustainable manner. We will continue our deep engagement with the investment groups in the Fund, and further encourage them to move to a Net Zero world across their portfolios of companies.”
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