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Cambridge rules out divestment in culmination of fossil fuel campaign

Cambridge University is expected to rejected calls for the abandonment of its oil and gas investments this week.

In a meeting of the University Council on Friday, senior officials are understood to have voted not to establish a 10 per cent fund for ethical investment, or to ban indirect investments in coal and tar sands.

The university has been the site of student protests against fossil fuel investment for three years, which culminated in a dramatic banner drop on a bridge over the Thames during the Boat Race in March.

Earlier this week, the Cambridge Zero Carbon Society campaign was endorsed by John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, and Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party.

Graffiti on the walls of Senate House, the University Council meeting place, ahead of a meeting in May

James Linsell-Clark/SWNS – Cambridge

A working group was established in February 2017 to consider divestment, and formed the basis of proposals considered by the University Council on Friday.

But an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) fund with an ethical remit, favoured by the university’s working group, is expected to be rejected in favour of hiring an ‘ESG officer’ in Cambridge’s finance department.

An opponent of the move said that the ESG officer would be “entirely subordinate” to more senior financial staff who oppose divestment policies.

A Cambridge University spokesman said that Friday’s meeting was a “positive discussion” and that a full response would be issued next week, but campaigners yesterday accused the university of watering down proposals to divest from oil and gas stocks in the university’s £6.2 billion portfolio.

Angus Satow, a student campaigner, said: “Unfortunately, University management are addicted to short-term profit, at the expense of democracy, human rights, sustainability and even future losses.”

“It’s time for Cambridge to stop acting like a corporation, and start to come good on its mission statement to contribute positively to society, including in sustainability.”

Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/09/cambridge-rules-divestment-culmination-fossil-fuel-campaign/

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