‘Amazing victory’ as coal lobby uni divests from fossil fuels

Students today celebrated an “amazing victory” after the University of Nottingham announced a total divestment from fossil fuel companies.

The move represents an impressive turnaround, coming just weeks after META revealed the University had been a member of a coal industry lobby group as recently as last month.

Welcoming the decision Jane Meehan, Campaign Chair of University of Nottingham People and Planet said:

“We’re so happy to hear that the university has made the right decision and committed to full divestment. The social license of fossil fuel companies is vanishing.”

Meehan celebrated the decision as the result of a three-year campaign and the more than a thousand people that had signed a petition, writing that: “It just proves if we come together we can achieve anything!

Divestment campaigns are local groups that call upon institutions to take their money out of fossil fuel companies.

Pressure had built on the University to act after a META investigation revealed the institution’s relationship to Euracoal. The University only confirmed it had cut ties with European coal industry lobbyists one month ago, after students had expressed their anger at the institution’s involvement with a group that was suing the EU for trying to cut toxic pollution from coal power plants.

In a press release announcing the decision, the University said that about 6% of their £50 million endowment fund was invested in fossil fuels and that coal and tar sand holdings would be immediately disposed of. The statement promised that all other fossil fuels would be removed from their portfolio within the next 12 months.

The announcement means that Nottingham joins a quickly growing list of UK universities that have committed to drop their fossil fuel investments.

Nottingham’s recently-appointed Vice Chancellor, Professor Shearer West, was previously Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Sheffield, which divested during her time there.

West said: “Fossil fuel divestment is an important part of our global outlook, ethical values and commitment to environmental sustainability.

The famous Oxford-Cambridge University boat race was recently disrupted by students calling for those institutions to follow suit.

Meehan added:

“Nottingham’s decision adds to the pressure on other fossil free campaigns including the University of Cambridge and the nearby University of Loughborough. ”