Waterloo commits to divestment

2021-06-02

in Canada, Economics, Law, PhD thesis, Politics, The environment

The University of Waterloo has joined the set of Canadian schools committing to fossil fuel divestment, specifically with pledges for a “50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030” and “no material positions in fossil fuel exploration and extraction companies by 2025.”

Cindy Forbes, chair of Waterloo’s Board of Governors, specifically cited the financial case for divestment and argued that it is compatible with fiduciary duty:

To protect our investments, we’re making the decision that we will reduce our exposure to carbon. In doing so we are protecting our primary fiduciary duty to maximise pension fund and endowment returns using measurable science-based targets.

While it contradicts the justice-based framing preferred by most climate activists, purely bottom-line driven divestment arguably has greater potential to spread through the financial system, since the system’s norms heavily emphasize an obligation to reduce risk and maintain profits, whereas commitments to justice and equity are at best controversial.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Alena Prazak June 6, 2021 at 10:26 pm

Good for Waterloo! There are many reasons to motivate an institution to make a paradigm shift.

. September 8, 2021 at 4:57 pm

Guy Brodsky – Divestment at the University of Waterloo

The Divest Podcast

Join Sophie and Petra in talking to Fossil Free UW member Guy Brodsky about the University of Waterloo’s recent decision to decarbonize investments and divest their funds from fossil fuels.

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