Divest the University of Auckland from fossil fuels

The University of Auckland, the University of Auckland Foundation and the School of Medicine Foundation

Uoa_clocktower

Why is this important?

Climate change is occurring at unprecedented rates, thanks in large part to the massive amounts of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere by the fossil fuel industry. 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history. And yet, in 2009, 114 countries had already signed the Copenhagen accord, in which they agreed that the world must work together to limit global warming to a safe level of not more than 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures. The Carbon Tracker initiative has shown that we can only afford to emit 565 more gigatonnes of CO2 if we want to remain under that threshold. We would emit 2795 gigatonnes of CO2 if we burned all the reserves already discovered, though, and the industry still invests millions in finding new reserves.

Every institution that divests from fossil fuels helps to erode the industry's social license to operate. We urge the University of Auckland and associated Foundations to demonstrate that they do not wish to align themselves with an industry which is not only unethical but also economically insecure in the long-term. HSBC, one of the world's largest banks, has published a report indicating that major oil and gas companies could lose up to 60% of their market value if the existing international protocols on emissions reduction are enforced. Furthermore, leading global investment research firm MSCI has stated that fossil fuel divestment even “has the potential to reduce overall portfolio risk because of Energy Sector volatility”.

The University of Auckland’s Sustainability Policy already demonstrates the institutions commitment to “the efficient management of energy[...] and minimisation of waste and emissions". It is time for the University to ensure this commitment extends to the industries it is supporting through its investments. Once again, we, the undersigned, urge the University of Auckland and its associated Foundations to look to the future by creating an ethical investment policy in which the University commits to divestment of all holdings, direct and indirect, from the fossil fuel industry within five years and to the exclusion of this industry from all of its future investment portfolios.

To: The University of Auckland, the University of Auckland Foundation and the School of Medicine Foundation
From: [Your Name]

We urge the University of Auckland and its associated Foundations to create an ethical investment policy in which these entities commit to a) immediately freezing any new investments in the fossil fuel industry b) divesting of all holdings, direct and indirect, from the fossil fuel industry within five years, and c) screening for, and excluding, fossil fuel investments from all of the entities' future investment portfolios.