Student associations respond to Concordia University Foundation fossil fuel divested sustainability fund

MONTREAL, Nov. 26, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The Concordia Student Union (CSU) and the Graduate Student Association (GSA) are pleased with the Concordia University Foundation's (CUF) decision today to create a sustainable investment fund that will be divested from fossil fuels; however, we hope that this is the beginning of a longer process of full divestment.

After over a year of discussion with students, the CUF announced that it will be creating a 5 million dollar sustainable investment fund. The CUF has committed to excluding fossil fuels from this fund. "Though society demands a much deeper commitment to sustainability than this, we appreciate that the university has publicly acknowledged that sustainable investments should exclude fossil fuels" added CSU president Benjamin Prunty. CSU President. The CSU and the GSA hope to persuade the CUF to exclude fossil fuels from the entirety of their fund. "Although I understand that the foundation has a fiduciary responsibility towards their donors and beneficiaries, investors also have a responsibility to ensure that future generations can still live on this planet,"added Erik Chevrier, PHD student and part-time professor  who sits on the CUF working group looking at sustainable investment options

"We are glad that Concordia has recognized that there is a problem with a fossil fuel-based economy at a time when TransCanada is attempting to pass a hugely unpopular pipeline in Quebec," added Anthony Garoufalis-Auger, another member of the CUF working group and co-spokesperson of the provincial student coalition against the pipelines ECO.

The student group Divest Concordia had amassed over 2,400 signatures on their petition calling for the university to commit to selling off its fossil fuel shares over a three year period. The CSU and the GSA have mandates to support full divestment as well as the university sustainability group Sustainable Concordia.

An increasing number of universities and colleges in the United States and Europe have committed to divesting their entire fund from fossil fuels. Recently, figures like South African archbishop Desmond Tutu, former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, and the United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres have all called on institutional investors to sell off their fossil fuel shares and invest in renewable energy. The scientific data shows that the vast majority of proven fossil fuels reserves must stay in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change.

 

SOURCE: Concordia Student Union

For further information: Anthony Garoufalis-Auger: 438-877-9007, Erik Chevrier: 514-998-5889

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