A previous rally by Divest UVic. (Courtesy of University of Victoria Student’s Society)

Students protest UVic’s new divestment policy

Divest UVic calls policy to reduce carbon emissions by 45 per cent over next 10 years ‘greenwashing’

A rally was held at the University of Victoria Tuesday just before its Board of Governors voted to reduce carbon emissions by 45 per cent by 2030, to bring attention to what some believe is the need for more divestment.

The rally, organized by Divest UVic aimed to “hit at the most crucial moment” as the board voted in the policy. A press release from Divest UVic calls the new policy “greenwashing” and a “weak target for unspecified emission reductions and a weak timeline of 10 years,” adding that the university’s administration was failing its community.

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The Responsible Investment Policy will see the university’s $225 million short-term investment fund divesting from “high-carbon emitting companies regardless of their industry sector,” states a press release from UVic.

“UVic has once again shown that they would prefer to dump millions of dollars into a dying fossil fuel industry and fund our way down into the bursting carbon bubble, instead of following the lead of the hundreds of other universities that supported long-term financial viability through divestment,” stated Paarth Mittal, a spokesperson for Divest UVic.

Gayle Gorrill, vice-president of finance and operations for UVic, called the 45 per cent reduction an “ambitious goal,” something that those in attendance of the rally disagree with.

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Divest UVic states the policy is not divesting from fossil fuels, but is “an attempt to respond to community pressure without meaningful change.”

Other elements of the policy include becoming a signatory to the UN Principles of Responsible Investment, participating in activities to encourage carbon emission reductions, evaluating the portfolio for physical, liability and transition risks associated with climate change and encouraging better disclosure by investment managers of carbon emissions and climate-related risks.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

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University of Victoria

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