UBC votes for sustainable investment fund to be free of fossil fuel companies

By The Canadian Press
February 15, 2017 - 10:19am

VANCOUVER — The University of British Columbia will exclude fossil fuel companies from its low-carbon investment fund, a move being applauded by a campus group that has been pushing for divestment.

The university has rejected calls to divest entirely from fossil fuels, but last year it established the $10-million Sustainable Future Fund to invest in companies with low carbon dioxide emissions.

On Tuesday, the school said in an emailed statement that its board of governors voted to approve a framework for the fund that would see it invested in a fossil fuel-free portfolio managed by investment firm Jarislowsky Fraser.

Donors can contribute over time and the university will increase the fund if it performs well in the coming years, with potential increases of $5 million in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Investments tied to oil, gas and coal made up about 10 per cent of the school’s $1.4-billion endowment as of February 2016.

No Canadian university has divested fully from fossil fuels, but the University of Ottawa has also established a clean investment fund while Concordia University in Montreal has partially divested.

Stephanie Glanzmann, a student with UBC350, the group that has been advocating for complete divestment, said the fight will continue.

“Although we’re taking this as a win, we have a long way to go,” said Glanzmann.

“We intend to continue advocating and keeping a close eye on their actions moving forward.”

The Canadian Press

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