Research by student campaigning network People & Planet reveals that just seven UK universities have a policy to invest in renewable energy companies or funds. The People & Planet University League measures ethical and environmental performance of 154 publicly funded UK universities.
The methodology of the league table includes accessing publicly available information on university websites and marking it against set criteria such as whether the university has an ethical investment policy with commitments to exclude or invest in specific sectors.
University of Gloucestershire topped this year’s table, after finishing second in 2017, and is one of the few universities to invest in low-carbon energy alongside University of Edinburgh and Northumbria University.
Of the seven, two institutions received marks in the table for commitment to directly invest in community owned renewable energy and/or renewable energy projects on campus. These were Keele University, Nottingham Trent.
Rebecca d’Andrea, Fossil Free campaigns coordinator at People & Planet, said: “University of Gloucestershire show that leadership on investment in renewables goes hand in hand with wider ethical and environmental standards. Its time for others to follow suit.”
A total of 76 UK higher education institutions have committed to divest from fossil fuels since 2014. In that time People & Planet have supported students to campaign for the same universities to invest in renewables as a positive alternative.
Chris Saltmarsh, co-director of climate change campaigns at People & Planet, commented: “Universities are abandoning the fossil fuel industry but failing to invest in our renewable future. Every institution across society must pitch in to fund the climate transition. As it stands the higher education sector is letting us down.”
This is the twelfth year of publishing the People & Planet University League. It also shows that 25 universities have met their Carbon reduction targets (early - as target date is 2020) but that two thirds of sector are not on track to reducing carbon emissions by 43 percent on 2005 levels by 2020.
Marianne Brooker is The Ecologist's content editor. This article is based on a press release from People & Planet.