Divesting from Fossil Fuels

Monday, February 9, 2015

Faculty at the University of British Columbia are currently voting on whether or not to completely divest the institution’s $1.2 billion endowment from fossil fuels. UBC is one of nearly 30 post-secondary institutions across Canada that have active movements on campus to reduce or eliminate their financial involvement in the fossil fuel industry. This list includes McGill, University of Toronto and Simon Fraser University and it is part of a growing global movement coordinated by 360.org. The organization claims to have encouraged 800 individuals and organizations, including the Rockefeller Foundation, to commit to divesting $50 billion from the fossil fuel industry over the next five years.

Currently, UBC has a disproportionate percentage of its endowment invested in non-renewable energy (compared to other institutions) and organizers feel UBC could play a pivotal leadership role in the Canadian post-secondary landscape. Shifting the $100 million it currently has in hydrocarbons to other, more sustainable assets, will send a powerful message to other private sector leaders and would strengthen UBC’s broad strategy to combat climate change and encourage sustainability on and off campus.