The University of Guelph announced that it will divest from fossil fuels over the next five years.
The Board of Governor’s motion will be voted on this Wednesday.
The meeting agenda can be found at this link: https://uoguelph.civicweb.net/Portal/MeetingInformation.aspx?Org=Cal&Id=1524
Students have been advocating for this kind of action for years. Last year, OPIRG working group, Fossil Free Guelph (FFG) was informed that the Board of Governors (BoG) did not have control over the money in the endowment funds the way the students wanted because the money was invested by third parties.
The wording of the motion for consideration reads: “the University of Guelph commit to divestment from the ownership of fossil fuels within the Endowment Portfolio Investment Fund over a five-year period beginning April, 2020”
Which is exactly what FFG was asking for.
So what changed?
In January 2019, in what seemed like a stop-gap measure at the time, the BoG committed to “reducing the carbon footprint of its endowment fund[s]”
The background for Wednesday’s proposed motion reads “Since that time, the University has also become a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing (UN PRI) and has been engaged in sector-wide discussions to evolve considerations for responsible investing and ESG criteria”
The BoG pledges to work with their finance managers to make sure the University isn’t impacted by the financial movement.
This will be a net-win for climate activists on campus. It seems duplicitous that this specific proposal was rejected unequivocally by the BoG last year.
On Mar 31 “The Finance Committee agreed that divestment could be achieved as part of this holistic approach and that it was aligned with the University’s broader environmental leadership and sustainability efforts.”
We will be updating this twitter (@defunctmayhem: https://twitter.com/defunctmayhem) with the results of the Wednesday Board meeting.