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Council enhances its Socially Responsible Investment Policy

At its meeting on 8 July our University considered ideas brought forward by Warwick’s students on how the University’s investment policy could approach the use of fossil fuels.

The formal consideration by Council of these ideas began in June when a number of Warwick students were invited to present a paper entitled “The Case for Fossil Fuel Disinvestment” to the Investment Sub-Committee of the University’s Council. The outcome of those discussions with the students at the Investment Sub-Committee, and in the subsequent Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting, noted that:

  • The University already operates a “Socially Responsible Investment Policy
  • The University has very few direct investments of any kind, and none in the companies on the Fossil Fuel 200 list.
  • The strategy for the University’s Investment Fund is to hold a portfolio of indirect index-related tracker funds. The University has explored whether it could source such funds where it could specify the exclusion of particular types of investments. It has been advised that there are currently no index-related funds available to UK investors that enable specific exclusions and to replicate such funds with exclusions manually would be so prohibitively expensive that it would defeat the purpose of investing at all.

The Council meeting considered those points and further suggestions on this issue made by the student representatives on the Council and resolved:

  • To approve a revised Warwick “Socially Responsible Investment Policy” (SRIP)
  • That the University should review annually the availability, financial viability and appropriateness of fossil free index-related funds for its investments in equities. Should these conditions be met, the University would then commit to replace the existing funds with investments in fossil free index-related funds in line with the SRIP criterion of corporate behaviour leading to environmental degradation.

Sir George Cox, the Chair of the University Council said:

“Warwick’s students are global citizens who seek to challenge all of us to consider and reflect on how we as a community can have an impact on this issue both together and as individuals. Throughout the discussions leading up to today our students have presented clear arguments that they wanted Council to hear and take seriously and they can be assured by the outcome of our meeting today that Council has done so".

Warwick is one of the world's leading universities and is committed to addressing global challenges through its world-class multi-disciplinary research. 'Energy' is one of our “Global Research Priorities” (GRP). The ambitious international targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions will require technological advances developed through research and innovation programmes such as Warwick’s Energy GRP.

We also pride ourselves at Warwick on our governance and corporate social responsibility record on such issues and we have a range of environmental initiatives, policies and procedures in place to promote best practice in the area of environmental sustainability.