Following more than a year in review and consideration, U of T administration has chosen not to divest in fossil fuel companies as part of the university’s current financial investments.
In a report released on Wednesday, U of T president Meric Gertler said that a “limitation” of divesting from fossil fuel companies is that it accounts for only one quarter of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“I am calling for the University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation to revise U of T’s investment strategy to include a systematic consideration of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors,” said Gertler in the report, “Beyond Divestment: Taking Decisive Action on Climate Change”.
In the report, Gertler discussed additional directions he has instructed UTAM to follow, including to “determine ways in which it can vote proactively and deliberately on shareholder resolutions aimed at reducing climate-related risk for firms in which it is directly invested” and evaluating the signing of the university to “the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment initiative”.
Instated in November 2014, the presidential Advisory Committee on Divestment from Fossil Fuels submitted its final report on December 15, advising Gertler to make “targeted and principled divestment from companies in the fossil fuels industry”.
“Building on the committee’s advice, an approach that considers ESG factors—including climate-related risk—as they pertain to all sectors of our economy would seem to offer the best chance of success in meeting the challenge of climate change, while fulfilling our fiduciary duties to the university’s pension and endowment fund beneficiaries,” said Gertler.
Among promises made in the report, Gertler has committed to increasing U of T’s environmental research, launching a tri-campus “clean-tech challenge”, and allocating $750,000 over three years for academic initiatives involving climate change.