A third of Scottish Universities divest as Abertay and UWS join the party

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Student campaigning organisation People & Planet published the results of their University League today, confirming that two further Scottish universities have divested entirely from fossil fuels.

University of the West of Scotland and Dundee’s Abertay University have pledged not to invest in any fossil fuels.

According to People & Planet UK, UWS’ commitment follows a year-long student campaign (pictured, above) calling on the University to sell its £1 million investments in fossil fuels. Student campaigners have staged dozens of actions to put pressure on university decision-makers.

UWS and Abertay now join the University of Glasgow, who were the first university in Europe to commit to fully divest from fossil fuels, and Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt Universities, who have made partial divestment committments. A third of Scotland’s 15 universities have now made some form of commitment contributing to the UK’s total of 42 UK universities that have pledged to divest.

The commitments were announced as part of People & Planet’s wider review of the environmental performance of universities, which ranked Edinburgh Napier the greenest in Scotland. The league table also awarded Glasgow Caledonian University a ‘first class award’.

Kevin McKinley, student campaigner with UWS People & Planet Group, said: “After over a year of campaigning, it is fantastic that UWS has decided to divest from the fossil fuel industry.

“The decision shows that UWS values its students’ views and that they are serious about changing into a more ethical, environmentally-friendly university.”

Amoge Ukaegbu, Campaigns and Movement Building Co-ordinator, People & Planet, said:

“By severing their ties with fossil fuel companies, universities are standing in solidarity with the communities across the world that are on the frontline of fossil fuel extraction and climate change.

“The Fossil Free movement has grown exponentially with students and universities at its core, pioneering a new way for public institutions to be truly independent of the fossil fuel economy and in doing so, trailblazing a path for wider society to follow.”

The UK has almost as many universities divested as the rest of the globe put together, with a total of fifty one educational institutions divesting globally outside the UK – in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Denmark, Canada and Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Find our more about divestment campaigning in Scotland on the Friends of the Earth Scotland website.

About Ric Lander

Ric Lander is Finance Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland supporting their work to divest from fossil fuels and invest sustainably.
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