Oxford University Bans Fossil Fuel Investments

The endowment’s allocation to the energy sector has already been significantly reduced to 2.6% of its portfolio.

Oxford University on Monday joined a roster of other colleges banning fossil fuel investments. 

The Oxford Endowment Fund, worth roughly $3.7 billion, is also demanding net zero carbon emission business plans across its portfolio. It’s also hiring a climate conscious investment team member. 

The storied British institution joins a number of other universities that have formally announced commitments to sustainability amid increasing demand from students, academic researchers, and their own investment boards. 

“We will continue our deep engagement with the investment groups in the fund, and further encourage them to move to a net zero world across their portfolios of companies,” Sandra Robertson, CEO and CIO of Oxford University Endowment Management (OUem), said in a statement.

The school also said it is also developing its own strategy for environmental sustainability that will be published later this year.  

The decision comes at a time when the energy industry has been severely hit by the coronavirus. As drivers stay home and economic activity slows, oil prices this month have dropped below zero. Supply has not only outstripped demand, but has overtaken storage. 

Meanwhile, the fund’s allocation to oil and gas has already been significantly reduced, the university council noted. Over the past 13 years, the endowment fund decreased its stake in energy to 2.6%, down from 8.5% in 2007. Of that remaining allocation, just 0.6% is invested in fossil fuel extractors. 

A number of other schools have similarly made commitments to net zero emissions this past year. Earlier this month, Harvard required a net-zero strategy for its $41 billion endowment. Other universities, such as Georgetown, Middlebury, and Syracuse, have committed to divesting from fossil fuels.  

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