The Pitt Building was the location of the breakfast eventAndreas Praefcke

Pro-divestment student activist group Cambridge Zero Carbon interrupted a ‘Shell Breakfast’ networking event on Thursday morning, demanding that the University “cut ties with Shell”.

Four members of Cambridge Zero Carbon Society unfolded a banner reading ‘Shell: recruiting to create climate killers’, before reciting statistics about the climate and Shell’s energy sources.

The breakfast, which was organised by Cambridge University Women in Banking and Finance Society, was held in the Pitt Building, the University’s conference centre on Trumpington Street. The event was advertised as an opportunity to “meet senior professionals from the finance and trading department of Shell”, as Shell Trading and Sales sought to attract Cambridge students for internships and graduate schemes.

Speaking to Varsity, a spokesperson from Cambridge Zero Carbon said “this University should no longer be a place they [Shell] can use to legitimise fossil fuels and recruit more oil executives”. Alongside Thursday’s disruption, the group promised that they “will continue to fight this year to restructure the investment office” and to bring about “a fully divested University with no place for Shell”.

Cambridge University Women in Banking and Finance Society did not respond to a request for comment.

Thursday’s interruption is the latest in a series of action by activists and academics to push the University to end its relationship with fossil fuel companies, particularly leading up to University Council’s decision in June not to divest the University’s £6.3bn endowment from fossil fuels.

University Council’s landmark decision on divestment, passed in an extraordinary meeting of Council last month, decided against any commitment to full (or partial) divestment, and rejected recommendations from its divestment working group that it eliminate all remaining indirect investments from tar sands and thermal coal, the most pollutive industries in the sector.


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It also decided against adopting the recommendation by its divestment working group that it allocate 10% of its endowment specifically into Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) Funds, opting instead to hire an ‘ESG officer’ to be employed in the Investment Office.

Over the summer, Zero Carbon also called for a formal review of the Council decision.

Zero Carbon’s past action has included occupying Greenwich House, the University building which houses its finance offices, for seven days. Their forceful eviction from the site received criticism from the CUSU sabbatical team, 12 student groups and was protested at a rally attended by over 100 students.

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