Universities - take AGM action!

UK University Vice Chancellors

UK universities have over £15 billion in investments.

Lots of universities hold investments in companies, known as shares. Anyone who invests in a company, has a say over how the company is run. We’re calling on universities to use their power as shareholders to actively engage – and vote - at company AGMs.

This year, campaigners are calling for companies to change.

Everywhere you look companies are making sustainability commitments – but where is the action?

What does net zero mean if you’re still funding new fossil fuel projects?

What is ‘caring about the planet’ if you’re driving deforestation and displacement of communities?

Just look at our big banks: despite many net zero targets and commitments to climate action, the biggest UK banks have poured £230 billion into fossil fuels since the Paris Climate Agreement.

Enough is enough.

We need to demand that our universities support campaign groups calling for change at company AGMs.

What can you do?

To: UK University Vice Chancellors
From: [Your Name]

We - students, staff and supporters from across the UK - call on universities to take take AGM action and use their position as investors to drive companies to change.

Annual General Meetings (AGMs) provide significant opportunity for shareholders, like universities or their asset managers, to actively engage with investments, showing serious commitment to environmental and social justice.

Universities should:

1) Use their influence as a shareholder to publicly commit to vote in favour of shareholder resolutions, taking a 'comply or explain' approach. If the University does not hold direct investments in companies, it should either:
a) Call on their asset manager(s) to publicly commit to vote in favour of resolutions, taking a 'comply or explain' approach;
b) Make a public statement supporting shareholder resolutions and call on shareholders, including other universities, to publicly commit to vote in favour of them.
2) Adopt a comprehensive responsible investment policy, which clearly outlines minimum standards of engagement, including voting at AGMs, and escalation policies for the University and its asset manager(s).

*A 'comply or explain' approach means the organisation may either comply with the policy (i.e. to vote in favour), or if they do not comply, explain publicly why they do not.