Selwyn College announces divestment from “meaningful” fossil fuel investments by end of 2021

In recent years the college has divested from all direct investments in fossil fuel companies

Today, (03/11), Selwyn College Cambridge announced its latest divestment strategy which includes the divestment “from all meaningful investment in fossil fuel companies by the end of 2021.”

In a press release the college announced that will include “no direct investments in the shares of fossil fuel companies, a commitment not to do so in the future and no meaningful indirect investments in fossil fuel companies.” In addition, an Investment Committee will annually review all funds individually.

The college also noted that it has a small investment in the Cambridge University Endowment Fund and “welcomes the commitment by CUEF to divest all meaningful investment in fossil fuel companies by 2030, but urges CUEF to accelerate that timescale.”

In the future, the college stated that it will “make it an objective to increase the proportion of its investment portfolio year-on-year in companies and funds which support the transition to a low carbon economy, over and above investments already made.”

The college is “willing to use its voting power as shareholders to support shareholder resolutions which are aligned with these policies and against those which are not.”

It also intends to “ask its investment advisors in future to inform fund managers of the reasons for disposal of an investment where these policies had a bearing on the decision.”

As part of its commitment to responsible investment, Selwyn College has in recent years divested from all direct investments in fossil fuel companies (tobacco and armaments having already been divested previously), and has increased its criteria for indirect investments through funds.

The college said that its approach “is amongst the most substantive and radical in the sector” and this latest divestment is what it considers to be “the culmination of this policy.”

The Selwyn College JCR president, on behalf of the JCR commented that: “Today is an exciting day for students and staff who have worked hard together over several years to reach this monumental achievement.

“We are delighted that, after years of working with staff on this issue, Selwyn College has committed to full divestment, accompanied by other robust climate-positive policies. Such an achievement is a testament to students’ power to achieve significant change.”

They continued that: “In the week of COP 26, this decision is timely and reflects the urgency of the crisis and the lack of adequate action thus far. 

“As a JCR, we hope that other Colleges will follow in Selwyn’s footsteps, divesting immediately. We are also committed to continuing to work with Selwyn to make sure that this is just the start of many positive actions taken to normalise and ensure sustainable, and climate just, practices.”

The Selwyn JCR Green, Ethics and Faith Officer added: “Students at Selwyn will greatly welcome this move, and fully support the college in its efforts to encourage CUEF to bring its divestment goals to sooner than 2030!”

Selwyn’s commitment compares to other Cambridge colleges like Pembroke who have promised to divest by 2023. 

Feature image credits: Matilda Head