University of Northampton announces divestment from fossil fuel industry

Bosses say it is the “latest step” in the journey towards cleaner energies and sustainability

Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 10:52 am

The University of Northampton has today (July 27) announced it will divest from the fossil fuel industry as it moves its investment policy to consider “protection of the global environment”.

It has become the 95th UK university to make the move, resulting in a nationwide divestment of more than £15 billion.

University bosses say it is the “latest step” in its journey towards cleaner energies and sustainability, which also includes reducing food waste and single used plastic.

University of Northampton.

Becky Bradshaw executive director of estates and campus services at the University of Northampton said: “Here at the University of Northampton, we are proud to sign the declaration and take this latest step in our established journey away from fossil fuels towards cleaner energies.

“As part of our wider approach to improving sustainability, we had already taken onboard the challenge of carbon reduction by seeking to switch to electricity and natural gas use on our Waterside campus, investigating renewable energy generation, as well as reducing food waste and single use plastic within our catering facilities - achieving a 29 percent reduction in our carbon footprint for 2020/21.

“There is a justified demand for the Higher Education sector to respond to the challenges of carbon reduction, and we’re glad to be on the front-foot and already taking significant strides towards reducing our carbon footprint.”

The university has updated its ‘Responsible Investment Policy’ to exclude fossil fuel companies from its £100,000+ investment portfolio. The policy now also states that investment managers must consider “protection of the global environment, its climate and its biodiversity including, but not limited to, the reduction and future elimination of fossil fuel exploration and production”.

People & Planet - a student movement, which continues to pressure universities to sever ties with the fossil fuel industry - says more than 60 percent of UK universities having divested.

Laura Clayson campaign manager at People & Planet said: “Universities continue to divest their investment portfolios from the fossil fuel industry in recognition that these companies bear disproportionate responsibility for the climate crisis now unfolding around us.

“This move from the University of Northampton is important, spurred on by a national student movement acting in solidarity with Indigenous and frontline communities on the sharp end of climate injustice and fossil fuel extraction.”

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Now the campaign group is targeting university careers services, calling on them to explicitly exclude oil, gas and mining companies from student recruitment opportunities. This campaign, ‘Fossil Free Careers’, has already won endorsement from student unions across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

J Clarke acting director of campaigns at People & Planet added: “Divestment from fossil fuel companies is a vital first step for universities proving they take the climate crisis seriously. Just as importantly, we must see university careers services end the recruitment assistance they provide to the industries most responsible for environmental injustice: oil, gas and mining companies. It’s time for ‘Fossil Free Careers.”

Find our more about the university’s commitment to improving sustainability here.