Credit: Glasgow University's Climate Action Society

UofG reaffirms fossil fuel divestment pledge

By Luke Chafer

After a bi-annual consultation period the University Court has decided to continue on the path of full divestment.

After becoming the first UK University to pledge to full divestment from fossil fuels back in 2015 the University of Glasgow court has reaffirmed its commitment. The decision comes after a report was issued by the Investment Advisory Committee (IAC) to the Court in June 2021. This followed a suggestion within the Court back in December 2019 that a “step back [should be] taken” as “the actual negative effect on investment outturns to date was significant”.

In the meeting held on 22 June, the minutes note that the “Court agreed that the University would continue to reduce holdings and approved the ongoing commitment to full divestment in Fossil Fuels.” This decision came after the Court had “requested that the alternative be tested against its impact on the climate change issue and against the financial impact” in the IAC report.

From a Freedom of Information (FOI) request filed by The Glasgow Guardian it is understood that as of 31 December 2020, the University investment portfolio had £9.2 million in fossil fuel holdings, which makes up 4.2% of the portfolio. This means that since the decision was initially made to divest in 2015 the University’s holdings in fossil fuel investments have halved from £18 million, showing they are currently on track to achieve full divestment within the ten-year timeframe. 

Currently, the single largest investment is in Anglo American PCl ordinary, a company that specialises in mining, with £954,695 currently invested. The University also has over a million pounds still invested in the different facets of BP and £1.3 million in Royal Dutch Shell and its subsidiaries. 


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