Edinburgh Napier University announces fossil fuel divestment

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A SCOTTISH University has announced that they have removed all direct investments from fossil fuel companies.

Edinburgh Napier University has a strong history of enhancing environmental sustainability within and beyond the institution.

To maintain their achievements and develop the work further, they have set significant commitments within their new University Strategy, including achieving net zero carbon in operations by 2030 at the latest.

AndreaNolan - Education News Scotland
Photo by Edinburgh Napier University. Andrea Nolan (above) is Principal and Vice Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University.

This announcement is in line with the net-zero direction of travel and reflects a wider commitment to minimise both wider and legacy carbon footprint and influence sustainable practices within and beyond our campuses.

Ms Nolan 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.”

Fossil fuels - Education News Scotland
Photo by Marcin Jozwiak on Unsplash. It is important to highlight the role Edinburgh Napier students had in making this happen.

Members from the Edinburgh Napier Sustainable Society and the Edinburgh Napier Students’ Association were instrumental in making their voices heard, taking the issue to the University, and advocating for the position of divesting from fossil fuels.

As well as engaging with senior leadership, the students also worked with the Edinburgh Napier University Development Trust to ensure that the Trust itself, a separate legal entity from the University which manages all philanthropic funds on behalf of the University, also removed all direct investments from fossil fuel companies.

The Trust has been working to reducing its exposure to fossil fuel investments over the last few years, and our students played an important part in working with them to make the final push to full divestment.

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.

eco friendly - Education News Scotland
Photo by Brian Garrity on Unsplash. Brewin Dolphin also stated it would continue to work with the Trustees to and reflect the values of the University by favouring companies that 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.”