Cardiff Uni acting on climate emergency by stopping investments in fossil fuels

The change is a year ahead of plans

Cardiff University has officially withdrawn all of its investments in fossil fuels, after the university declared a climate emergency and appointed a new Dean for environmental sustainability last year.

The move away from fossil fuels comes sooner than expected after the university originally planned to do this in 2021 and they have issued a statement saying it was their “social responsibility” and a “wider ethical investment”. They intend to continue the environmentally friendly plans, with their next mission to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Like many universities across the UK, Cardiff invests in the USS (Universities Superannuation Scheme) collective pension scheme for the university sector. Some Cardiff students have raised their concern over this issue, claiming the USS remains a strong investor in fossil fuels and Cardiff’s association with the USS voids its efforts in becoming environmentally friendly

A student activist commented that “it would be great to see management being loud and proud” about its divestment in fossil fuels.

A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Cardiff said that as an “institute of education”, Cardiff University should be “leading the way in society concerning sustainability and battling the climate crisis”,  and that they can achieve this not only through their own actions but through encouraging others to follow in their footsteps.

The group believe that the university’s ethical code should also apply to the organisations it works with, including the USS. In an attempt to tackle this, student activists have asked Vice-Chancellor Colin Riordan to write a public letter to the USS, calling for their divestment in fossil fuels. A private letter does exist, but the students want Cardiff to produce a public letter, similar to University of Bristol.

Students have warned it is not the end of their striker’s battle and claimed there would be future campaigning to encourage staff members to “choose greener options in their pension portfolio”, in hope of lessening the university’s indirect investment in fossil fuels.

Nevertheless, the university is making positive changes to their approach and acting on their climate emergency. As well as the divestment in fossil fuels, Cardiff University has reduced the number of bottled water sold by 41 per cent since 2017/18.

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