Otago Uni Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels
Press Release13th September, 2016Otago Uni Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels
This afternoon, University of Otago Council voted to exclude fossil fuels from their investment portfolio. Fossil Free Otago Uni, with the support of staff and the student body, has been calling for the University’s Ethical Investment Policy to explicitly exclude fossil fuel investments from the University Council’s investment portfolio since early 2015.
“As students we want to be proud of our degrees. We want them to come from a future-facing institution that aligns with the science and stands on the right side of history. We’re proud that our uni has listened and made the right decision,” said Charlie Montague spokesperson for Fossil Free Otago Uni. The Otago University Foundation Trust committed to divest in July 2015. The University of Otago Council's decision today to adopt the same policy, makes the university free of fossil fuel investments. Otago is now the second university in New Zealand to commit to being ‘fossil free’.
“When we know that 80% of fossil fuels must be left in the ground to prevent catastrophic climate change, the fossil fuel industry can no longer be considered an ethical investment. It’s now widely considered unethical, along with tobacco and munitions,” said Montague.
Globally, over 500 institutions, representing over $3.4 trillion USD, have divested from the fossil fuel industry, due to pressure from the divestment movement, led by 350.org. In New Zealand the list of divested institutions includes Victoria University, The Anglican Church of Aotearoa, The Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, and Dunedin City Council.
“Investments speak loudly to what the university values, and their decision today shows that they value the future of their students over the dirty, outdated fossil fuel industry,” said Niamh O’Flynn, Executive Director of 350 Aotearoa.
“Today Otago put its money where its mouth is, and put fossil fuels where they belong, in the past,” said Montague.
Tonight a student-led collaborative art piece will be unveiled in celebration of the announcement. See https://www.facebook.com/FossilFreeOtagoUni/ for more details.