UPEI may divest of fossil fuel investments

UPEI might look at divesting its investments in fossil fuel companies, the university said Thursday in response to a petition launched by a fourth-year student.

'UPEI is actually aware of this changing trend,' says university comptroller

Pressure is mounting for institutions like UPEI to get out of fossil fuel investments. (CBC)

UPEI might look at divesting its investments in fossil fuel companies, the university said Thursday in response to a petition launched by a fourth-year student.

The university confirmed it does have some fossil fuel investments, though those make up less than 10 per cent of the university's investments.

University comptroller Tara Judson said UPEI's investment committee was already looking into the issue as pressure mounts for institutions and investment funds to divest of fossil fuels.

UPEI comptroller Tara Judson says less than 10 per cent of UPEI's investments are in petroleum. (UPEI)

"So UPEI is actually aware of this changing trend, and people are looking for universities and institutions to divest of fossil fuels," said Judson.

Mitchell Crouse, the student who launched the petition and urged the university to re-direct that money to businesses that promote renewable energy, is glad the information is now public.

"It is very good to know that they are willing to listen and take into consideration our input towards this," said Crouse.

"Even if we don't get immediate action, we've still opened up this topic for some conversation and we can go from here now that we're talking about it, now that things are out on the table."  

UPEI looking at other options

UPEI said the value of its total investments is $296 million and of that, less than $29 million is in energy holdings. 

"What our goal is in the next couple of months is to have our investment consultant bring some information about what that would look like for UPEI, what are our other options for investing if we did divest from fossil fuels," Judson said.

The university's board of governors could make a decision on the issue at its annual meeting in the spring.

Crouse said he's pleased his petition has shed light on UPEI's investment in fossil fuels, and he's hoping the university does move its investments to renewable energy companies.

With files from Angela Walker


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