The University of Victoria has fully divested its quarter-billion-dollar working capital fund away from fossil fuel investments.
The school announced Tuesday it had moved $80 million from the $256-million capital fund into a short-term bond focused on low-carbon investments.
The school’s student society and the group Divest UVic hailed the move as a major victory in their eight-year fight to halt fossil fuel investments at the school.
"There’s been an appetite for bold action on campus for years, and UVic is finally delivering, both in climate action and social justice,” said Emily Lowan of the University of Victoria Students’ Society and Divest UVic.
University treasurer Andrew Coward said the move away from carbon-intensive investments aligns with the school’s commitment to “address climate change in every domain.”
“Investing in the fossil fuel-free fund allows us to lower the carbon footprint of our investments which helps to mitigate the investment risk associated with climate change as society transitions to a greener economy that is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
The school approved a policy last year to reduce the carbon intensity of its capital fund investments and provide better disclosure of carbon emissions and climate risks associated with its portfolio.
The student society and Divest UVic say their mission to fully divest the school from fossil fuel companies is not over. The groups are taking aim at the university foundation’s long-term endowment fund, which is valued at over $400 million.
“With the climate emergency growing more dire and fossil fuel companies facing increasing losses, Divest UVic demands that the foundation follow the lead of the board of governors by divesting these funds and embracing a safer and more effective investment strategy,” the student groups said in a statement.