Fossil fuels have been removed from the Royal College of Psychiatrists' (RCP's) multi-million pound investment portfolio. The move is one of several new commitments the RCP has made to invest responsibly.
The changes follow a review of the College’s investment portfolio. But the review concluded that divesting from fossil fuels, while necessary, does not go far enough.
The College will now only invest in companies that follow good environmental, social and governance policies and practices, such as those companies that are reducing their waste, supporting local communities and promoting diversity and equality in their workforce.
They will also be using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to filter and screen investments and have also signed up to the Principles of Responsible Investment – a voluntary set of principles supported by the UN.
These changes put the College up with the best practice in sustainable and ethical investment and goes further than any other College has gone so far.
Calum Mercer, director of finance and operations at the RCP, said: “We are now using our financial assets to invest in innovative, responsible companies making a positive impact in terms of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“This supports the delivery of a better and more sustainable future for everyone. It will also generate long-term income enabling us to do more as a College.”
Fossil fuels are now part of a growing list of excluded investments - which already included tobacco, arms, adult entertainment, alcohol and gambling companies – demonstrating the College’s commitment to improving sustainability.
Dr Eleanor Cooke is a representative from Fossil Free Psych a group of doctors and members of the Royal College of Psychiatrists who have been campaigning for divestment. She said: “We are delighted that our College has made this decision to divest from fossil fuels, given the profound impacts of climate change and air pollution on mental health.
“We believe it is unethical and unacceptable for any organisation that aims to improve health to be invested in this industry.
“We would urge health workers to work with organisations like Medact to make sure their professional bodies go free from fossil fuels without delay.”
Marianne Brooker is The Ecologist's content editor. This article is based on a press release from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.