Cambridge just raised the bar on fossil fuel divestment.
More and more institutions are choosing to divest from fossil fuels, but the Cambridge University is going one step further and decarbonising its entire portfolio. Just last week, the 811-year-old British institution announced it will drop its £3.5 billion ($4.5 billion) endowments from fossil fuels and reduce its holdings in companies that emit greenhouse gases.
While Cambridge joins a growing cadre of universities, faith groups, pension funds, cities, and even countries divesting from fossil fuels, its two-pronged approach is a first. Harvard became the first university to announce a net-zero endowment by 2050 (without divesting from fossil fuels), but Cambridge’s commitments follow a much shorter timeline. The university will divest from conventional energy by the end of the year, build “significant investments” in renewable energy by 2025, divest from remaining fossil fuels by 2035, and become net-zero across its portfolio by 2038.
The decision at Cambridge comes after almost a decade of student activism demanding more socially responsible investments. Protests erupted on campus following a 2018 vote by the University Council, Cambridge’s main policy-making body, against fossil fuel divestment.
But the university's recent announcement makes it one of the most progressive divestment plans we have seen thus far and certainly raises the bar as other universities look to divest.