Following campaigning efforts by Reading University Students’ Union, the University of Reading have announced plans to make their £70million investments portfolio more ethical and transparent. Whilst RUSU welcomes these efforts as a great step forward, the announcement falls short of the change that students have been campaigning for.
Reading students have been lobbying the University to adopt RUSU’s Socially Responsible Investments Policy, which calls for the University to:
- Prohibit investments in companies which do not share the University’s education and research aims and objectives.
- Automatically divest from the top 200 most carbon-intensive companies.
- Invest in companies which actively promote human rights, environmental, ethical, and community interests.
The University has announced that it will move its investments to funds which do not generate most of their revenue from fossil fuels, prioritise investments in companies taking significant steps to reduce fossil fuel use, and invest in funds which actively encourage all companies to reduce their use of fossil fuels and engage in better business practice. The University will also start routinely publishing its investment holdings publically for the first time.
This is great news, but there is more to be done. The University can do more to ensure their investments are ethical and in line with the fact that the University is a leading environmental and climate science research institution and has institutional environmental targets and commitments to the betterment of the environment.
Ben Cooper, RUSU’s Community & Development Officer, said:
“The steps forward the University are taking are good and welcomed, it’s great to see this issue is now on the table and being debated, but there is more to do. RUSU will continue to work with the university to push forward ethical investments”.
“RUSU will continue its campaign to encourage the University to divest from carbon-intensive and unethical companies for good. The campaign will continue to hold the University to account for its investments and press the University for more change in its investment policy.”