UEA sells £320,000 of investments in fossil fuel companies after four year campaign

Anti-fossil fuel protesters at the UEA

Anti-fossil fuel protesters at the UEA - Credit: Archant

After four years of campaigning from a student network the University of East Anglia has sold £320,000 of investments in fossil fuel companies, ending its association with the industry.

People and Planet UEA have been putting pressure on the university to divest from fossil fuels since 2013.

And two years ago 95 UEA academics, including 24 from the School of Environmental Sciences, wrote an open letter to vice-chancellor David Richardson to withdraw its investments in the companies.

In a statement today the university said: 'UEA no longer holds its £320,000 investment in two fossil fuel companies.

'We do keep our investments under review and last month we sold our holdings in two fossil fuel companies. We are aware that many students have campaigned for this in recent years and we fully understand that they will welcome this investment decision.'

Over the past 50 years, UEA's researchers have played a leading global role in developing understanding of climate change and its links with carbon emissions. In addition, the Adapt Low Carbon Group encourages entrepreneurial activity with an environmental conscience by providing consultancy and investment funding for local, regional and international businesses from one of the world's greenest buildings.'

Lewis Martin, president of People and Planet UEA, said the group is 'incredibly happy' at the decision.

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'[It] shows that student activism can lead to real change in their university life and the way the campus functions, even if they are stonewalled by university management,' he said.

'We are now calling for the vice-chancellor David Richardson to make a public commitment it will become university policy that they will never invest in fossil fuels again.'

Alison Graham, the previous People and Planet UEA president, added the announcement was a 'huge victory'.

'Climate change cannot be defeated through individual action; collective change is needed to overcome the difficulties it presents,' she said.

'Universities must never consider acting ethically as impractical or beneath them. To maintain investments in fossil fuels is to be complicit in an industry in which denying climate science is standard practice.

'UEA can now call itself a green university without hypocrisy or irony.'

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