Kitchener-Waterloo

University of Guelph decides not to divest from fossil fuels

The University of Guelph has decided not to divest from fossil fuels, despite multiple student protests on campus, urging the school to pull its investments in fossil fuels.

Students express disappointment with decision from university officials

Dozens of students gathered on campus to protest the University of Guelph's investment in fossil fuels on Wednesday. (Peggy Lam/CBC)

The University of Guelph has decided not to divest from fossil fuels, despite multiple student protests on campus, urging the school to pull its investments in fossil fuels.

Dozens of students gathered on campus Wednesday to protest the university's investments in fossil fuels. 

Ultimately, school officials declined to divest.

Instead, they said they will try to reduce the carbon footprint of the university's endowment fund portfolio.

That will mean setting short and long-term carbon reduction targets as well as coming up with new investment goals using environmental and social criteria.

The plan will be to reduce the fund's carbon footprint by 10 per cent over the next two years.

"It's not the answer that we wanted and we feel that this is an urgent climate crisis. We don't have a lot of time, and so we were really hoping the board would understand that from that perspective and see why divestment is necessary," said Megan Peres, a fourth-year student at the University of Guelph and a member of Fossil Free Guelph.

Megan Peres and Aidan Brushett are students at the University of Guelph and members of Fossil Free Guelph. (Peggy Lam/CBC)

She said she hopes the university will eventually divest.

Don O'Leary, the university's vice-president in charge of finance, administration and risk, called the 10 per cent number an aggressive target but acknowledged some students are not satisfied.

"We believe we are being ambitious enough … If we're able to do this sooner than later, then we will do more, for sure. Certainly. Why wouldn't we?" said O'Leary.

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