UBC finance committee says no to selling off fossil fuel holdings

VANCOUVER -- The University of British Columbia's finance committee has voted against selling off the school's fossil fuel holdings.

The finance committee, part of the school's Board of Governors, decided Wednesday to keep fossil fuel stocks as part of the university's $1.4-billion endowment, while also creating a sustainability fund to promote environmental goals.

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Last January, faculty members at UBC voted 62 per cent in favour of selling off the university's fossil fuel investments within the next five years. A year earlier, students had voted 77 per cent in favour of divesting from fossil fuel holdings.

Wednesday's decision by UBC follows the lead of the University of Calgary, McGill University in Montreal and Dalhousie University in Halifax, all of which earlier decided against divestment.

Last December, a University of Toronto advisory committee recommended that the university divest from fossil fuel companies that "blatantly disregard" efforts to halt climate change. University president Meric Gertler is expected to make a final decision on divestment by the end of March.

Concordia University in Montreal was the first university in Canada to adopt a partial divestment policy in December 2014, which only applies to a $5-million fund representing a fraction of the schools' $130-million endowment.



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