October 20, 2017

350 and Fossil Free Monash applauds Monash commitments to becoming Australia’s first 100% renewable energy university

Melbourne – October 19th, 2017 – 350.org and Fossil Free Monash welcome the announcement from Monash University that it will aim to power its campuses by 100% renewable energy by the year 2030 through a new project called “Net Zero”. Last year, Monash announced it would divest its holdings from coal, one of five Australian universities to make a significant divestment commitment.

“If Monash were to also divest from oil and gas, it has the chance to be a global industry leader on sustainability with the ‘Net Zero project,’ showing it is serious about doing it’s part in addressing climate change,” said Jackson Turner, of 350.org Australia.

“Monash has set a bold standard that other universities, particularly in the group of eight, will be measured against, going far above the ‘carbon neutrality’ certifications many other universities have pursued,” said Jasmine Walker, of Fossil Free Monash.

“However, Monash can’t claim to lead on climate and sustainability while still investing in dirty oil and gas, companies that are polluting our climate and risking our future.”

Universities like La Trobe and Queensland University of Technology have already shown they are serious about sustainability through fully divesting their endowments from coal, oil and gas. ‘Net Zero’ is a similarly bold commitment to sustainability but according to Turner, is let down by Monash’s ongoing investments in oil and gas.

“We know that the university agrees that investing in fossil fuels is no longer socially acceptable because they removed coal from their investments in 2016 after a student-led campaign by Fossil Free Monash,” Turner said.

“We welcomed the initial divestment decision back in 2016 but it has been over a year since, and with climate impacts like the cyclones and hurricanes we are currently seeing around the world, now is the time to divest from oil and gas as well,” Walker said.

“Many of the oil and gas companies that Monash continues to invest in have actively campaigned through institutions like the Minerals Council of Australia and Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association to stop the renewable energy revolution from happening,” Turner said. “We can see the effects of this with the news this week that the Federal government will be turning its back on our clean energy target.”

For interviews contact:

Jackson Turner in Sydney on 0422 171 345, jackson@350.org.au,

or Jasmine Walker on 0435 591 204

For media assistance contact:  Louise Fraser on 0438 993 068