UCL ethics board to convene over £14.4m invested in fossil fuels

• University has £14.4m stake in “ethically bankrupt” industry

• Report urges UCL to cut all ties with companies

University College London’s (UCL) Ethical Investment Review Committee (EIRC) is to convene to consider a report requesting that the university drop its £14.4m stake in the fossil fuel industry.

The report released by the Fossil Free UCL campaign.

The report released by the Fossil Free UCL campaign.

The ‘Fossil Free UCL’ campaign have submitted a ten-page report to the EIRC, and the committee’s secretary confirmed: “Arrangements are being made to convene a meeting of the EIRC as soon as possible to consider the request, although no date has yet been set.”

Campaigners – including staff, students and alumni – have called on UCL to “come clean about its ties to the fossil fuel industry” and “break those ties”. They “demand that an institution we feel affinity with distances itself from an ethically bankrupt industry.”

As of 30 September, UCL had £14,485,812 worth of shares in seventeen companies that have direct ties to the fossil fuel industry, including BP and Shell.

Dr. Simon Lewis, of UCL’s geography department, said: “I am surprised that, after two decades of consistent messages from scientists worldwide that avoiding dangerous climate change requires keeping most fossil carbon out of the atmosphere, UCL is still investing in fossil fuel extraction.”

He added: “Rapid declines in fossil fuel emissions are required to avoid extremely dangerous levels of climate change in the future. In line with this, the only ethical stance for UCL’s Ethical Investment Review Committee to take is to recommend complete divestment of its £14.5m stake in the fossil fuel industry.”

Thomas Youngman, ethics and environment officer at UCL’s student union, said: “I am pleased to hear that UCL’s Ethical Investment Review Committee will be investigating UCL’s fossil fuel investments. It is a great opportunity for UCL to take a strong ethical stance, rather than letting its reputation depend on the long-dead ethics of Jeremy Bentham.”

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