Two-year campaign sees the university move all coal, oil and gas investments out of its £14m endowment

Students and staff at the University of Warwick (UoW) have been celebrating the success of a two-year long campaign which called for the institution to stop investing in coal, oil and gas.

The university has now become the seventh in the UK to pledge some form of fossil fuel divestment behind Glasgow, Bedfordshire, SOAS London, Oxford, Edinburgh and London’s School of Hygiene and Tropical Disease.

Scores of students from the Fossil Free Warwick University (FFWU) marched on a university council dinner at The Shard in London’s Southwark on Tuesday in their fight for ‘climate justice’.

FFWU had said it was disappointed that UoW management had shown more interest in profit than in people or the planet, adding that it has consistently casualised staff, called police on peaceful protesters and repeatedly side-lined demands of staff and students for fossil fuel divestment.

Now, Dan Goss, a student campaigner from FFWU, said all the staff and students were delighted the university’s management heeded the call of the democratic majority and added: “This decision testifies to two long years of campaigning by Fossil Free Warwick. We’re overjoyed by this victory.”

Describing how the battle for climate change has only just begun, Mr Goss said: “It’s just the beginning.

“Divestment is the spring-board for a united front against the fossil fuel industry globally and on campuses.”

A statement from the university ensured that its investments in fossil fuels – estimated to be at approximately £1m –will be replaced as soon as funding becomes available, which could take a year.

President of Warwick Students’ Union (WSU), Cat Turnhan, praised the students, activists and WSU officers for their relentlessly hard work and added: “Warwick has demonstrated, not only a commitment to its students now, but its students of the future – and they are a great example to universities around the world.”

The Fossil Free campaign is lobbying over 750 groups from across the globe – including universities, churches and local governments – and has, so far, persuaded some 220 organisations to disinvest in fossil fuels.

Along with the British public’s concerns about the risks involved in investing in the fuels, the movement has gained the support of the UN.

Comments