U of W dodging fossil-fuel divestment: students


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A University of Winnipeg campus group is slamming the university for reportedly refusing to withdraw investments from companies that extract fossil fuels.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/06/2016 (2527 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A University of Winnipeg campus group is slamming the university for reportedly refusing to withdraw investments from companies that extract fossil fuels.

Divest UWinnipeg organizer Andrew Vineberg said Tuesday in a news release that the “University of Winnipeg has declined widespread calls for full divestment from fossil fuels, instead proposing the creation of a voluntary fossil-free green innovation fund for University of Winnipeg Foundation donors.

“Adopted at yesterday’s (Monday) board of regents meeting, the motion also recommends the creation of a responsible investment policy for the Foundation, another longtime demand of climate justice activists on campus,” said Vineberg.


But the university said Tuesday that no Canadian university is entirely divesting itself of fossil fuel investments, though the university and several others are consulting widely on campus and establishing a separate investment fund that is entirely fossil-free.

The U of W said Tuesday in a news release that, “Following months of campus consultations and an open examination of ‘divestment,’ the University of Winnipeg board of regents (Monday) evening voted to adopt a collaborative approach to the issue. It noted that the University of Winnipeg is updating its sustainability policy and institutional sustainability strategy to ensure that the institution continues to show climate leadership.

“It requested that the university’s foundation and pension trustees, as affiliated entities, examine investment practices with the potential creation of:

— A responsible investment policy that applies environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria; and

— A separate fund option that is 100 per cent fossil-fuel free and geared towards “green innovation”.

That hasn’t satisfied Divest UWinnipeg.

“These changes are a direct result of student lobbying and campaigning under the banner of Divest UWinnipeg, which is part of the international fossil fuel divestment movement. Student representatives are nonetheless dissatisfied with the policy, noting that the university specifically did not endorse the concept of divestment in any capacity within the proposal,” Vineberg said.

“The U of W’s choice not to divest from fossil fuels represents a contradiction with its commitments to sustainability, Indigenization, and ultimately, reconciliation,” said U of W Students’ Association President Kevin Settee in the news release. “The university’s work towards Indigenization and sustainability is severely undermined by continuing to invest in the very companies that are destroying our land and bodies.”

The university regents pointed out that, “Divestment refers to the removal of stocks, bonds, and investment funds from companies involved in extracting fossil fuels. No Canadian university has fully divested from fossil fuels, although a number are establishing a separate fund that applies environmental, social and governance screens (eg: Trent, Dalhousie, University of British Columbia, McGill, Guelph, Thompson Rivers).

“The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association sparked the divestment dialogue on campus and has been an active partner in facilitating campus consultations,” said the university regents.



Updated on Tuesday, June 28, 2016 11:07 AM CDT: Added U of W comments, and box

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