The university outlined a staggered approach to divestment through to 2030, and said it will invest instead in renewable energy
The University of Cambridge has committed to divest from all direct and indirect investments in fossil fuels by 2030, as the institution works towards its goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2038.
The Cambridge University Endowment Fund (CUEF) - which at £3.5bn is one of the biggest of its kind in Europe - plans to ramp up investments in renewable energy as it switches off the lights on fossil fuels, Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen J Toope announced in his annual address yesterday.
"The University is responding comprehensively to a pressing environmental and moral need for action with an historic announcement that demonstrates our determination to seek solutions to the climate crisis," Toope said. "We will approach with renewed confidence our collaborations with government, industry and research partners around the world as together we work for a zero carbon future."
The shift is laid out in a detailed divestment strategy, which will see the CUEF withdraw investments with conventional energy-focused public equity managers by December 2020, before building up significant investments in renewable energy by 2025. It will then move to divest from all meaningful exposure in fossil fuels by 2030, on its way to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its entire investment portfolio by 2038, in line with the university's broader targets.
The package of measures backs up the University's existing climate change initiative Cambridge Zero, which aims to use the institution's global teaching and research network to influence systemic change. The University has also announced that all research funding and other donations will from now on be scrutinised to ensure that the donor can demonstrate compatibility with the University's objectives on cutting greenhouse gas emissions before any funding is accepted.
At the end of last year, the University announced a series of science-based climate goals including to reach net-zero emissions by 2038 and absolute zero energy-related greenhouse gas emissions by 2048, in line with a 1.5C warming scenario. Meeting an interim target will see it reduce its CO2 by 75 per cent by 2030 from 2015 levels.
The goals made Cambridge the first university in the world to adopt a climate goal assessed by the independent Science-Based Targets initiative, which have now been adopted by almost 1500 firms around the world.
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