Thursday, July 25, 2019: The University of New South Wales has made history by announcing a shift away from fossil fuel investments of over $13 million, joining more than 1000 institutions globally and 8 other Australian universities that have changed their investment policies to shift away from coal, oil and gas.
In an update on their website, UNSW confirmed that they have reduced their investment in fossil fuel companies by $13.3 million, out of their total long-term investment portfolio of $29.5 million.
This decision comes off the back of a 5-year student-led campaign by the UNSW community. According to Stella Babidge of UNSW Fossil Free, this is an important step in the right direction.
“This is a massive decrease in UNSW’s investment in coal, oil and gas. This shift not only reduces investment in fossil fuel companies – it also removes the social license of these companies to continue to pollute with impunity.
“This is a huge win for people power at UNSW and beyond. This was not an overnight win, it is a result of continued pressure from students, staff and alumni over the past 5 years.
“But there is still more to do – UNSW still has $16 million invested in fossil fuels, and as such it is lagging behind the many councils, universities and countries worldwide that have fully divested from the fossil fuel industry.”
According to 350 Australia’s CEO Lucy Manne, “the Australian Government may be burying its head in the sand when it comes to the climate crisis – but the global divestment movement is gaining momentum, with more and more ordinary people demanding our universities, schools, churches and councils stop investing in the fossil fuel industry.
“More than 1000 institutions with investments of $11 trillion have now committed to divest, and this is accelerating the transition from polluting fossil fuels to the new, just, clean energy economy.”
According to Babidge, UNSW’s decision is a direct result of the student-led campaign.
“In 2018 we stepped up our pressure on UNSW, with 15 students peacefully occupying the chancellery for 50 hours to demand UNSW stops lagging behind the multiple other institutions that have committed to divesting from fossil fuels. Our efforts have paid off, and we will keep campaigning to ensure UNSW takes the next step and commits to full divestment,” said Babidge.