Divestment discussions – What We Heard

New – A summary of campus consultation on divestment is how available in this What We Heard – April 29 2016 final report.

Background:

UWinnipeg’s Board of Regents adopted the University’s Campus Sustainability Policy and sustainability management framework in 2006 on the recommendation of the President’s Task Force on Sustainability, comprised of students, faculty and staff. Since then, our institution has realized several sustainability achievements and received several sustainability awards. To date, our work has emphasized efforts to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions in a manner that is consistent with Canada’s international commitments.

Universities around the world continue to make great strides in their efforts towards supporting the revitalization and resilience of ecosystems and communities. As many of these practices become mainstream, new questions and issues emerge. As leaders in the global transition towards sustainability, universities around the world are being challenged to consider how their sustainability commitments map onto their investment practices. This question is being raised in leading sustainability benchmarking and rating tools such as the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS). It is also being raised through the rapidly growing global fossil fuel divestment movement.

In 2015, the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association raised the issue of divestment on campus. Fossil fuel divestment is the removal of investment assets including stocks, bonds, and investment funds from companies involved in extracting fossil fuels.

UWinnipeg’s administration committed to examine the issue as it pertains to both Foundation endowment investment and pension plan investments. The process allows for external expertise and campus community input.

Our mandate as a university is to encourage critical thinking and informed, respectful debate that allows for multiple viewpoints. The divestment issue provides an opportunity for UWinnipeg to offer a wide range of perspectives and expertise in a campus-wide conversation.

In March and April 2016 we created a series of forums for sharing facts and expertise that challenges us all to broaden and deepen our thinking on the divestment question.  A recommendation on divestment will go to the Board of Regents for consideration in June.

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