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Universities have made a big commitment for the planet

Words by Abi Scaife

In great news for students studying – and, of course, our planet – 100 UK-based universities have pledged to move away from fossil fuels.

Wow! Tell me more.

This means that about 65% of the UK’s higher education sector will no longer be making financial investments in fossil fuel companies. And that means fossil fuel companies will be missing out on an estimated £17.6bn going forward.

That’s great - but what does it really mean for the universities?

These universities, including the University of Edinburgh and Coventry University, are in the process of, at least partially, divesting from fossil fuel companies.

Hang on, divesting?

Ah - yes. Divesting is, as you might have guessed, the opposite of investing. In essence, any investments that these universities have will be sold off, so that they are no longer putting money into these companies, or profiting from them.

Right, okay - I think I get it. So, what does it mean?

It means that, previously to this, universities were one of many businesses helping to fund fossil fuels through their investment. Thanks to students and charities campaigning for change, the conversation around fossil fuels has changed, and universities are changing their ethical framework to reflect sustainability.

Amazing! But what about universities that aren’t divesting?

No word yet, but the hope is that the remaining 53 universities will begin to feel the heat (pun totally intended) and make the same change. We’re already 65% of the way there, and that’s a huge win in itself!

This article aligns with the UN SDG Climate Action.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs