May 25, 2016

La Trobe University first in Australia to divest from fossil fuels

MELBOURNE, 25 May: Fossil Free La Trobe and Australia welcome the University’s decision to move their investments away from the top 200 publicly-traded fossil fuel companies, making them the first university in Australia to do so.

The La Trobe University Council has endorsed a plan under which, over the next five years, it will divest from the top 200 publicly-traded fossil fuel companies ranked by the carbon content of their fossil fuel reserves. By choosing to divest from these companies, La Trobe University has shown they are serious about tackling climate change and are leaders in Australia.

“La Trobe University have made a very powerful decision to move their investments away from coal, oil and gas,” Michaela Carter, student at La Trobe and Fossil Free campaigner said. “As the first university in Australia to fully divest, La Trobe have cemented themselves as a leader in sustainability and this is a model that all universities must follow.”

“We know that fossil fuels are directly contributing to devastating climate change, so the moral imperative for tertiary institutions to divest is strong. How can universities purport to be future focussed organisations when their investments are directly funding the climate chaos? Today’s decision vindicates years of work to get the university to take a responsible attitude toward their investment portfolio.”

Academics have also been integral in building consensus at the university around the need to divest. They recently launched an open letter to the University on support of divestment.

“I am really proud of my university for choosing to divest from fossil fuel investments,” said Ben Habib, Lecturer in Politics & International Relations and Course Coordinator of Master of International Relations at La Trobe. “It reinforces the demonstrated commitment of the many academics, professional staff and students across the LTU community who are committed to strong climate action.”

The campaign to see La Trobe University move its investments away from fossil fuels is part of a global divestment movement. La Trobe joins Swinburne University, Monash, the University of Sydney and the Australian National University in making a commitment to move their investment portfolios away from fossil fuels. Australia have been spear heading this campaign.

“We are thrilled that La Trobe will become the first university in Australia to totally divest from Fossil Fuels,” National Campus Divestment Coordinator, Ray Yoshida said. “They have shown other universities that it is possible, and I look forward to other institutions following their lead.”

“Universities have a very clear choice – do they keep funding dirty fossil fuels that drives climate change, or do they show true leadership, as La Trobe has done, and prove that there is an alternative.”

To date, 518 institutions holding $3.4 trillion in investments  are in the process of selling their shares in the top 200 coal, oil and gas companies. In Australia, 22 local governments have committed to divest.

Media contacts: – Cambell Klose: 0490 436 948

Fossil Free La Trobe – Michaela Carter: 0401 036 017

Lecturer – Ben Habib: 0414 063 822