October 27, 2015

Australia’s first union divests from fossil fuels & outlines path to sustainable investments

(MELBOURNE)– A major victory in the growing global divestment movement was announced today, as Australia’s first trade union, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) pledged to shift its investment portfolio away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy.

NTEU’s membership is largely made up of university workers and academics, boasting 25,000 members with active branch offices at every university in Australia. The union’s announcement overlaps with the larger university divestment push that has taken off across the country,  with the NTEU passing a motion in support of university divestment at their National Council meeting earlier this month.

Announcing the decision, NTEU National President Jeannie Rea said: ““The tertiary education sector is a leader when it comes to teaching and research on climate change and sustainability. It makes sense to ensure the union’s investments are not benefitting companies that are contributing to an unsustainable future.

“We congratulate NTEU for passing this major milestone by investing in innovation over the outdated fossil fuels of the past and throwing their weight behind divestment of  university endowments,” said Vicky Fysh, 350.org Australia’s university divestment coordinator. “ We expect the NTEU’s leadership to help usher in more divestment announcements from universities across Australia,” concluded Fysh.

Today’s announcement follows the recent Newcastle City Council decision to divest its $269 million portfolio, and the ACT Government’s announcement just the week before.

The decision is part of a fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement, which has spread to campuses, cities, faith communities, super funds, health organisations, unions and foundations around Australia and the world. To date, almost 40 institutions in Australia and almost 400 globally have pledged to move their money out of fossil fuels.

To see the NTEU’s statement, please click here

Contact: Charlie Wood 0427 485 233