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Bedfordshire joins Glasgow in fossil fuel commitment

23 January 2015

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The University of Bedfordshire has become the second higher education institution in the UK to commit to not investing in the fossil fuel industry.

Bedfordshire has formalised its ethical investment strategy, which prevents the university from investing in fossil fuels, confirming their long-standing informal policy on the matter.

"We are acutely aware of our duty to invest money in ways which match our values and prioritises the future of our students," said Bill Rammell, vice chancellor at the university.

He added that the institution held values of "promoting justice, integrity, and sustainable growth" and as part of its commitment to students would "ensure all investment decisions are made responsibly and take seriously the threat of climate change."

The move by Bedfordshire follows a similar decision from the University of Glasgow in October 2014 to divest GBP 19 million from the fossil fuel industry.

University of London SOAS became the first university to freeze new investments in the fossil fuel industry.

The Bedfordshire policy was announced as the student campaign group People & Planet release University League 2015, a guide ranking universities based on their environmental and social impact.

The University of Bedfordshire came 14th out of 151 institutions in the league table, which was headed up by the Plymouth University, followed by the University of Worcester and Manchester Metropolitan.

New research by University College London (UCL) reaffirms that over 80% of coal, 50% of gas and 30% of oil reserves are 'unburnable' under the goal to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees.

UCL has not divested from fossil fuel-related companies despite a growing student campaign, which has gathered over 1300 signatures from students, staff and alumni.

Fossil Free campaigns are gaining momentum internationally with Global Divestment Day, a worldwide day of action to urge public institutions such as universities, local authorities, pension funds and religious institutions, to stop funding an industry whose business model is incompatible with the concept of sustainability.

First published 22.01.2015

Lindsay.sharman@wilmington.co.uk