As awareness of the oil industry’s role in the climate crisis has grown in recent years, so has the pressure from environmental groups and students on universities to divest from dirty fossil fuels. Now those efforts seem to be paying off, with one of the world’s most prestigious universities recently announcing plans to ban oil investments.
The University of Oxford has agreed to divest from fossil fuels and commit to a net-zero investment strategy following extensive student-led campaigns and protests. The new pledge requires the university to cut all ties with big oil firms and end future investment in these companies.
The resolution also dictates that managers of the university’s endowment, which amounts to £3bn ($3.7bn), must acquire evidence of “net-zero business plans” from companies within Oxford’s portfolio of investments.
First raised by the Oxford Climate Justice Campaign, the policy earned wide support from the student body and council and was sponsored by 79 senior university figures. Passage of the resolution comes after high-profile student protests earlier this year say campaigners occupy one of the university’s wealthiest colleges.
A role within the university’s Investment Committee will be created to ensure the new policy is followed and make sure companies benefitting from Oxford’s endowment fund are providing evidence of net-zero business plans.
At the start of the year, the analysis revealed that almost all of Britain’s top universities have pledged to at least partially divest from fossil fuels following years of campaigning from students. Oxford’s decision to follow in the same footsteps represents a testament to the fact that the oil industry’s demise is near.