Harvard University Ends Fossil Fuel Investments

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Lawrence Bacow speaks during his inauguration as the 29th President of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, October 5, 2018. REUTERS / Brian Snyder

BOSTON, Sept. 9 (Reuters) – Harvard University is ending its fossil fuel investments, the school president said on Thursday, praising divestment activists who had long lobbied the main university for it to withdraw from these assets.

In a letter posted on the Harvard website, President Lawrence Bacow said the school’s endowment had no direct investment in fossil fuel exploration or development companies as of June and would not make such investments in the future, “given the need to decarbonize the economy”.

The university’s indirect investments in the fossil fuel industry “are in trickle-down mode,” he added. Indirect investments, made through private equity funds, represent less than 2% of the endowment, Bacow wrote.

Recently valued at around $ 42 billion, the highest of any university, the school’s endowment has for years come under pressure from students, alumni and other activists to sell off its fuel reserves. fossils to slow climate change.

Others called such movements only posture. In May, an activist fund took a different approach and won three seats on the board of ExxonMobil Corp (XOM.N), promising to reform the climate record of the main oil company. Read more

Representatives from the Cambridge, Massachusetts school did not immediately provide further details.

For most of the past decade, former Harvard officials had resisted calls to sell fossil fuel stocks, but recently changed course under the leadership of new leaders, including Bacow, president since 2018.

Internal pressure for divestment has also grown, especially from young members elected to one of Harvard’s governing boards last year on a divestment platform.

Divest Harvard, one of the activist groups, on Twitter described the move as “a massive victory for our community, the climate movement and the world – and a strike against the power of the fossil fuel industry.”

Reporting by Ross Kerber in Boston; Editing by Richard Pullin

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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