The University of Cambridge announced that it plans to divest from all direct and indirect investments in fossil fuels by 2030. As it exits fossil fuels, the £3.5 billion Cambridge University Endowment Fund stated that it will ramp up investments in renewable energy.

According to the university, the new pledge aligns with its plans to cut its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) to zero by 2038, and puts Cambridge at the head of the race to become the first university endowment of its kind where GHGs from the activities of all investments balance out at zero.

Tilly Franklin, Chief Investment Officer at University of Cambridge, said:

“Climate change, ecological destruction, and biodiversity loss present an urgent existential threat, with severe risks to humankind and all other life on Earth. The Investment Office has responded to those threats by pursuing a strategy that aims to support and encourage the global transition to a carbon-neutral economy.”

The university has outlined the steps it will take towards reaching its sustainable investment goals, as follows:

  • Withdraw investments with conventional energy-focused public equity managers by December 2020
  • Build up significant investments in renewable energy by 2025
  • Divest from all meaningful exposure in fossil fuels by 2030
  • Aim to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its entire investment portfolio by 2038, in line with the broader targets of the University.

In addition to the divestment announcement, the university stated that going forward, all research funding and other donations will be scrutinised to ensure that the donor can demonstrate compatibility with the university’s objectives on cutting greenhouse gas emissions before any funding is accepted.

Professor Stephen J Toope, Vice-Chancellor, said:

“The University is responding comprehensively to a pressing environmental and moral need for action with an historic announcement that demonstrates our determination to seek solutions to the climate crisis. We will approach with renewed confidence our collaborations with government, industry and research partners around the world as together we work for a zero-carbon future.”

In addition to the divestment announcement, the university stated that going forward, all research funding and other donations will be scrutinised to ensure that the donor can demonstrate compatibility with the university’s objectives on cutting greenhouse gas emissions before any funding is accepted.