To: The Vice-Chancellor and the finance team at LSBU
LSBU: Divest From Fossil Fuels
LSBU currently has £49,010 invested in fossil fuels. We call for LSBU to:
- Exclude the fossil fuel industry from their investment portfolio
- Introduce publicly accessible ethical investment policy excluding the fossil fuel industry
- Full divestment within 3 years
An ethical investment policy means reinvesting money into community-led, grass roots and socially conscious industries. Redirecting money to sustainable sources will affirm South Bank’s position as ‘a brand that not only promises, but that delivers in the climate change battle’.
LSBU prides itself on being a university with the values of sustainability and social justice at its core. We hope that in the future, investments can become a truer reflection of South Bank’s ethos and can help to build a better future.
Why is this important?
In the face of a climate emergency LSBU has been a national leader among universities in pioneering green research and education programs. This makes the continued failure to divest from fossil fuels all the more striking.
At a board meeting in July 2016, governors expressed a wish for LSBU to develop an ethical investment policy, including screening out fossil fuel investments. Unfortunately, this wish has not yet developed into action, and LSBU currently has £49,010 invested in fossil fuels with no clear plan to divest. Despite priding themselves on being ‘dedicated to protecting our planet and society’, LSBU has failed to instigate real changes to their investments.
In July 2016, in a policy paper co-signed by Ian Mehrtens, the Chief Operating Officer, and Pat Bailey, the deputy vice-chancellor, it was stated that:
'The principles of sustainability need to be clearly demonstrated in all parts of the University, and this should be clear from information available internally and externally on the Web. In addition, the University should aim to remain in the top 30 ‘most sustainable’ universities in the UK using national metrics (e.g. University League, AUDE Green Scorecard) and build and maintain recognition for ‘best practices’ on a European and international basis.'
These achievements have failed to materialise. The principles of sustainability are not clearly demonstrated on the web; there have been no further policies published on the website since 2016. LSBU is ranked 65th in the UK on the People and Planet University League, with a sustainability rating of 41.6/100. In 2017, LSBU celebrated being in the top 50, meaning the university has dropped by at least 15 places in two years. One crucial reason for South Bank sliding down the rankings will be the continued failure to divest from fossil fuels, whilst 82 universities in Britain- over half of all universities in the country- have stepped up and made the commitment.