University of Liverpool Divests from Arms Trade and Coal & Tar Sand

Wednesday 21-11-2018 - 08:55
Rory blog1

Last year, UoL scored 0 for ethical investment in People and Planet’s University League as they had £12m invested in fossil fuels and an undisclosed amount invested in the arms trade. Through the communal power of student activists and the Guild, the University have taken a huge step towards an ethical investment portfolio, passing a new ethical investment policy that includes commitments to divest (remove investments) from companies that:

  • Produce thermal coals and tar sands
  • Derive significant revenues from the manufacture or sale of armaments
  • Test cosmetics and non-pharmaceutical products on animals
  • Manufacture tobacco products
  • Derive significant revenues from the sale of tobacco products

However, there is still work to be done.

The UN has warned that we have just 12 years to make radical changes to our carbon emissions in order to limit global warming and prevent irreversible climate catastrophe. Universities have a social responsibility to end their support for the fossil fuel industry’s climate crimes and human rights abuses. By ignoring this responsibility, the university directly contradicts its own Values and Ethics Principles, which state, “We will recognise the social, economic and environmental impact of our activities and seek to minimise harm to the natural environment and increase our social value, wherever we operate.”

Furthermore, it is contradictory for such a large research-led institution to invest in fossil fuels whilst also funding the Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy (SIRE) centre – an alternative energy research centre at the centre of our campus.

The University of Liverpool must take action for climate justice by following the example of other leading Russell Group universities such as Glasgow, Warwick, Nottingham, who have all committed to full divestment from fossil fuels.

British arms companies have profited £6bn from trade with Saudi Arabiaduring the ongoing war in Yemen (a country currently facing a humanitarian crisis) yet our university continues to hold research contracts with BAE systems and regularly hosts Rolls Royce at its careers fairs.

Furthermore, although investments in thermal coals and tar sands will be withdrawn, the University will continue to invest millions of pounds into companies that produce oil and gas. Investments in the declining fossil fuel industry are unsustainable and also legitimise the destructive actions of companies like Shell and BP.

The Officer Team believe the University must commit to making significant changes towards ethnical investment. If you are interested in campaigning for full divestment from fossil fuels, get in touch with Deputy President Hannah, hannah.nguyen@liverpool.ac.uk.

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