This week Stanford University became the first major U.S. university to officially divest from coal companies. The Stanford Board of Trustees voted that the university’s $18.7 billion endowment would not be used to invest in 100 companies that mine and produce the dirty energy source. The announcement comes after a student-led campaign called Fossil Free Stanford petitioned the university last year to stop investing in the 200 largest fossil fuel companies, and instead invest in sustainable energy sources.
“The university’s review has concluded that coal is one of the most carbon-intensive methods of energy generation and that other sources can be readily substituted for it,” said Stanford President John Hennessy. “Moving away from coal in the investment context is a small, but constructive, step while work continues, at Stanford and elsewhere, to develop broadly viable sustainable energy solutions for the future.”
Stanford has decided to still invest in oil and natural gas companies for the time being, but divesting from coal could lead to further fossil fuel divestments down the road. It also puts pressure on other major universities to follow Stanford’s lead. Fossil Free Stanford is part of a global grassroots movement called Fossil Free that aims to get colleges, governments, houses of worship and other institutions “to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies, and divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years.”
Fossil Free Stanford praised the university’s decision in a statement: “We are proud that our university is responding to student calls for action on climate by demonstrating leadership. Stanford’s commitment to coal divestment is a major victory for the climate movement and for our generation.”
Via Huffington Post
Images via Fossil Free Stanford