MONTREAL, Nov. 27th 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Divest Concordia sees yesterday's announcement by the Concordia University Foundation (CUF) to create a sustainable investment fund as a flat-out rejection of student calls for full divestment from fossil fuels.
In establishing a $5 million fund separate from its over 90 million dollar endowment, the administration has chosen to ignore the concerns of the community as expressed through over a year of campaigning, as well as a petition by Divest Concordia with over 2,400 signatures. The petition called for full divestment from fossil fuels over a three year period and the establishment of a permanent socially responsible investment committee that included student representation. This committee would have helped develop a sustainability policy for the entirety of the fund.
"We were expecting the same kind of leadership as University of Gasgow which became the first university in Europe to divest from fossil fuels," said Marcus Peters, member of Divest Concordia, "instead Concordia missed an opportunity to take real leadership on the most urgent issue facing humanity - climate change." So far, no university in Canada has committed to divesting from fossil fuels.
"To clarify, this announcement does not constitute a long-term commitment to divestment, " added Anastasia Voutou, also a member of Divest Concordia. "As it stands, the university can continue to hold stocks in fossil fuel companies while using public relations tricks to make the university look like a leader on sustainability; it's a simple green-washing tactic."
"We cannot accept this as a win as Concordia fails to address divestment entirely. Accepting this as it stands could potentially lead other universities to adopt similar tactics to seem environmentally conscious while continuing to invest in fossil fuels and other harmful ventures," added Trevor Smith, a member of Divest Concordia.
The announcement from the university comes as the divestment movement has been gaining momentum throughout North America and Europe. Divest Concordia will be working on a plan of action for the next semester.
About Divest Concordia:
Divest Concordia is a student-run group working to have Concordia University sell off its investments in fossil fuels. The group organizes on campus to raise awareness about climate change and responsible investing.
SOURCE: Concordia Student Union
For further information: Marcus Peters - 438-868-0167