Edinburgh Napier University has stopped all direct investments in fossil fuel companies.
The University Strategy which has just been agreed includes a commitment to achieving net zero carbon in all operations by 2030. The university has a wider commitment to minimise its legacy carbon footprint and the opportunities of influencing sustainable practices within and outside the university campuses.
The university has updated its electricity contract to procure 100% renewable electricity for all of its buildings which is now backed by Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin.
Andrea Nolan, Principal and Vice Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, said: “This announcement recognises the dedication and enthusiasm of our University’s students and staff to work together to meet our sustainability goals. We have made the commitment to achieve net zero carbon in our operations by 2030 at the latest, while also seeking to minimise both our wider and legacy carbon footprint and influence sustainable practices within and beyond our campuses.
“By removing all direct investments from fossil fuel companies, we are taking significant steps towards meetings these commitments. We have a strong history of enhancing environmental sustainability within and beyond Edinburgh Napier, and we will continue to work collaboratively to maintain our achievements and develop our work further through the sustainability commitments embedded within our new University Strategy.”
Students were key to enabling this by advocating for change in investment, particularly through the Napier University Development Trust which manages philanthropic funds on behalf the university.
In February this year, investment management company Brewin Dolphin wrote to the Trust to confirm it had taken action to sell all remaining collective funds in the UK, Europe and the US where there was any indirect exposure to oil and gas companies, reinvesting the proceeds into a range of directly held stocks or into collectives where there is no underlying exposure.
Brewin Dolphin also stated it would continue to work with the Trustees not only to generate investment returns, but also to reflect the values of the University and the wishes of the donors within the investment strategy by favouring companies which contribute positively to society.
George Borthwick, Chair of the Development Trust, said: “Edinburgh Napier University recognises the challenges we all face in living and working more sustainably. Aligned to the University’s strategic priorities, the University Development Trust, which raises funds to provide student scholarships, bursaries and awards, has completed divestment from fossil fuels.
“As a University Development Trust, it is important that our own investments and operational decisions reflect the values that underpin our community. By moving all our investments out of fossil fuels and adopting a position that they should aim to have a positive impact on society and the environment, we are making a commitment to being a part of a sustainable, healthy and positive future.”