Alternative fund does not address fossil fuel concerns: AMS

On February 3, the UBC Board of Governors Finance Committee conducted a long-awaited discussion on the topic of fossil fuel divestment. The result was a formal vote to direct the Board to not support divestment but to “evaluate investment alternatives”. At this time they also announced the developed of a Sustainable Futures Fund as an investment option with higher environmental, social, and governance considerations.

“While we appreciate the work the Board of Governors has done in considering alternatives to the current endowment, the creation of an alternative fund does not go far enough to address the concerns raised across campus regarding investment in fossil fuel,” said Jenna Omassi, Vice-President Academic and University Affairs at the AMS.

“In a 2014 election, 76.9% of students voted in favour of the AMS advocating against fossil fuel divestment. Students have clearly taken a stance on this issue,” she continued.

Shortly after this election, the AMS adopted a policy on UBC Divestment from Fossil Fuels, which included key reasons to divest from fossil fuels, namely:

  1. Investing in fossil fuels actively contradicts UBC’s commitments to sustainability,
  2. Divestment is a move towards long-term financial stability,
  3. Divesting from fossil fuels would cement UBC’s place as a global leader in sustainability.

Neither the AMS nor the UBC Faculty Association were consulted regarding the report or motion brought forward by the Finance Committee. The AMS strongly recommends that the Board of Governors involve the university community in a revision of the process followed in making this decision, and ensure that it makes active efforts to inform current donors of their option to move their investments into the new Sustainable Futures Fund.

“As representatives of the 50,000 students at UBC Vancouver, all of us at the AMS would like some clarity around the criteria on which this this decision was made and inclusion in the process of moving forward,” Omassi said.

The AMS itself does not have investments in fossil fuels and works to ensure that sustainable practices are employed in all its work.

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Media Contact

Jenna Omassi
VP Academic & University Affairs, AMS
vpacademic@ams.ubc.ca
604-822-3092

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