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Cambridge University To Divest From Fossil Fuels by 2038 With Net Zero Plan

Oct 3, 2020

The University of Cambridge has recently pledged to reduce the climate-warming emissions from its investments to net zero within 18 years.

The £3.5 billion Cambridge University Endowment Fund – one of the biggest of its kind in Europe intends ‘to ramp up investments in renewable energy as it divests from fossil fuels’.

This latest plan puts the 800-year-old British university at the head of the race to become the first university endowment of its kind where greenhouse gas emissions from the activities of all investments balance out at zero. The university plans to rebalance its 3.5 billion pound ($4.5 billion) endowment fund to ensure that it stopped contributing to global warming by 2038 – ahead of many other climate-concerned investors, who have tended to set a 2050 deadline.

Announcing the move in his annual address to the University, Professor Stephen J Toope, Vice-Chancellor, said: “The University is responding comprehensively to a pressing environmental and moral need for action with an historic announcement that demonstrates our determination to seek solutions to the climate crisis. We will approach with renewed confidence our collaborations with government, industry and research partners around the world as together we work for a zero-carbon future.”

The step-by-step changes will see the fund;

  • Withdraw investments with conventional energy-focused public equity managers by December 2020
  • Build up significant investments in renewable energy by 2025
  • Divest from all meaningful exposure in fossil fuels by 2030
  • Aim to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its entire investment portfolio by 2038, in line with the broader targets of the University.

Chief Investment Officer Tilly Franklin said: “Climate change, ecological destruction, and biodiversity loss present an urgent existential threat, with severe risks to humankind and all other life on Earth. The Investment Office has responded to those threats by pursuing a strategy that aims to support and encourage the global transition to a carbon-neutral economy.”

Learn more about the university’s new climate initiative here.

The University of Cambridge and several of its colleges are also current members of the Race to Zero campaign, you can find more information on their climate actions here.

Find out how to join the Race to Zero here.

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