Cambridge University to completely divest from fossil fuels

01 October 2020

In an historic announcement, the University of Cambridge has announced it aims to divest from all direct and indirect investments in fossil fuels by 2030. The £3.5 billion Cambridge University Endowment Fund – one of the biggest of its kind in Europe – intends to ramp up investments in renewable energy as it divests from fossil fuels.

This is a massive achievement, and a tribute to the years of research and debate by students and staff.

We especially wish to highlight the work of our researcher Dr Ellen Quigley, who in May 2019 was appointed to work with the University of Cambridge's Chief Financial Officer to establish a programme of research into responsible investment. This is part of our broader work on Extreme Risks and the Global Environment

Today a report on the advantages and disadvantages of divestment by Dr Ellen Quigley, researcher Emily Bugden and Anthony Odgers, the University’s Chief Financial Officer was published.  The report notes broad agreement in the University on the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions and explored divestment across moral, social, political, reputational, and financial dimensions.

The step-by-step changes – which the University hopes will inspire other institutions - will see the CUEF:

  • Withdraw investments with conventional energy-focused public equity managers by December 2020
  • Build up significant investments in renewable energy by 2025
  • Divest from all meaningful exposure in fossil fuels by 2030
  • Aim to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its entire investment portfolio by 2038, in line with the broader targets of the University.

The news was covered on the University website, the Financial Times, the Washington Post, the Telegraph, the Guardian and elsewhere.

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