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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

The University of Cambridge has announced that it aims to divest its £3.5bn endowment fund from investment in fossil fuels by 2030 as part of its overall strategy for its investment portfolio to reach net zero by 2038.

University Senate HouseThe University became the first in the world to set a 1.5 degree Science Based Target in 2019; committing itself to reduce its energy-related carbon emissions to absolute zero by 2038, with a 75 per cent decrease on 2015 emissions by 2030.

Responding to the latest announcement on its investments, CISL Director Dame Polly Courtice said:

"CISL has been working to build leadership on issues like climate change and decarbonisation for over 30 years, developing the understanding and practice of thousands of leaders in the public and private sectors to tackle global challenges.

"The decision by the University both to divest from fossil fuels and reach net zero a decade before UK government legislation sets an important example in the right direction. As we rebuild our economies from the impacts of a global pandemic, we must double down on our efforts to rewire our economies to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change and deliver the future we want.”

In his annual address to the University, Vice Chancellor Professor Stephen J Toope made the announcement which will see an increase in renewable energy investment from the £3.5 billion Cambridge University Endowment Fund as it divests from fossil fuels.

He 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."

The University Investment Office will work with CISL to help guide external fund managers using the organisation's extensive expertise, practitioner research, leadership insights and understanding of the finance, business, policy and executive education landscapes and sustainability best practice.

The University intends to deliver its action plan through four steps:

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.

Visit CISL's climate change knowledge hub



Zoe Kalus, Head of Media  

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