September 5, 2016

QUT becomes first Queensland University to dump its fossil fuel investments

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) announced on Friday a new Responsible Investment Charter that sees the university commit to dumping its investments in coal, oil and gas companies.

This decision will see QUT move its $300 million endowment fund away from fossil fuel companies. It is the first university in Queensland to make a divestment commitment, joining divestment commitments from the Australian National University, La Trobe University, and Sydney Uni nationally.

The announcement was made in a statement sent out to all staff by the QUT Vice Chancellor, Peter Coaldrake. The move comes after two years of divestment campaigning by student and staff group Fossil Free QUT.

“QUT has shown real leadership on climate change, and I’m so proud to be a student at an institution taking climate change risks seriously,” said Ruaela Rusch, a science student and member of Fossil Free QUT.

“QUT has recognised that investing in an industry whose business model is directly contributing to climate change, not to mention a legacy of misleading the public and obfuscating politics is not in the interests of its students.”

More than 120 QUT academics signed an open letter in September 2015, urging the university to divest from fossil fuel companies. Dr Adrian Barnett, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health, was one of these signatories.

“The university have listened to the concerns of students and staff, many of whom recognise climate change as the key issue of the 21st century,”Dr Adrian Barnett said.

“It was an odd situation that we had staff researching the Great Barrier Reef and the health effects of climate change, whilst at the same time the university’s investments were propping up the major threat to the reef and our health.” has been workign with students and universities across the country to get them to shift their investments away from fossil fuels.

Said Mark Thompson, Queensland Campus Divestment Coordinator and QUT alumnus, “QUT has listened to its staff and students’ deep concern about the morality of investing in an industry blocking action on climate change. It’s time for other Queensland universities to follow QUT’s lead.”

Fossil Free QUT’s campaign forms part of a global movement calling on institutions to stop investing in the top 200 coal, oil and gas companies. To date, 35 universities have committed to partial or full divestment globally, including the Australian National University. More than 520 institutions, representing $3.4 trillion globally, have committed to dump their investments in coal, oil and gas.

Photos from this morning’s press conference.

Media contact:
Cambell Klose: 0490 436 948