Today around 300 Cambridge and Oxford academics released statements in favour of positive investment. The letters praised the University of Cambridge for its move to undertake a large-scale investigation of ethical investment strategies for its endowment, and expressed support for evidence-based adoption of positive investment strategies for institutional investors such as the two universities.
Notable signatories include the Astronomer Royal, Lord Rees; the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams; and the incoming President of the Royal Society, Venki Ramakrishnan.
“Positive investment is a crucial element of any plan to keep global warming to safe levels,” said Cambridge alumnus Lord Deben, Chairman of the UK’s independent Committee on Climate Change. “These universities are doing tremendously important work on the research side; it would be great to see those contributions reflected in the investment strategies of Europe’s two largest university endowments.”
Speaking of the University of Cambridge’s investigation, Lord Deben said: “This is an opportunity to be both clever and moral in our approach to investment. Cambridge can bring to this its characteristic academic rigour and therefore produce evidence and recommendations that other long-term investors can trust,” he said.
At Cambridge the investigation not only received widespread support from faculty, but from students as well; student committees from all 31 colleges, representing the entire undergraduate population, passed motions in favour of positive investment.
Positive Investment Cambridge (PIC), the student and faculty coalition active at the University of Cambridge, also launched an education document outlining, succinctly and in plain language, the various positive investment options available to institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge: Education Document.
PIC also announced a positive investment seminar for journalists to ensure that positive investment is discussed, critiqued, and refined in the public sphere.
“The options before us are impressive in scope and scale – from energy efficiency financing through green bonds to private investment in renewable energy, from divestment from fossil fuels to investment in green venture capital. There’s also an opportunity to look at working with other large institutional investors – who together represent a significant proportion of the market – to bolster shareholder engagement in support of science-based targets for companies, and other common-sense measures that long-term investors have a particularly strong incentive to push for,” said Lord Deben.
“This open letter, signed by so many esteemed fellows, is a sure sign that there is widespread support for positive investment among Oxbridge academics. It is clear that, at the faculty level and amongst the student body alike, there is significant concern over climate change and other great ethical issues of our time, and positive investment appears to be viewed as at least part of the potential solution to the growing crises of the modern age.”
Edward Picton-Turbervill Ph: 07766012427