The college announced its decision on Thursday afternoonCantevestrella

Clare Hall has announced it will fully divest its £26.6 million endowment from the fossil fuels industry.

Student campaigners have been putting pressure on various colleges to divest all investments in the fossil fuels sector. Last month, Selwyn College sold all direct investments in fossil fuels, and in November, Downing College announced that they would remove all ‘practical investments’ from the fossil fuel sector, and offset any remaining indirect investments with investments in environmental impact funds.

Queens’ is the only known college to have divested its entire endowment from the sector, including indirect investments and pooled funds.

On Thursday afternoon, Clare Hall announced its commitment to withdraw its direct investments from fossil fuel companies listed in the Carbon Underground 200 — which identifies the top 200 coal, and oil and gas reserve holders globally, ranked by their potential carbon emissions — within the next three years and its indirect investments within the next five years.

Different organisations define divestment in different ways, but the broader divestment movement generally calls for the removal of funds from the top 200 companies worldwide.

Campaigning group Clare Hall Fossil Free (CHFF), founded by students Logan Malik and Ivan Mouraviev in October 2018, has been pushing for this decision since the beginning of Michaelmas.

In a statement on today’s decision, the group said: “Clare Hall hopes that its decision will help other Colleges, and the University itself, to respond to the urgent need for strong action on climate change by taking similar action.”

93.4% of Clare Hall’s current endowment fund is invested in the Cambridge University Endowment Fund (CUEF) worth £3.19bn.

CUEF, managed by the Cambridge University Investment Office, has been the subject of the University-wide campaign to push for Cambridge to divest over the past three years.

Last year, the University made the controversial decision not to divest its direct and indirect investments in the fossil fuels industry, based on the recommendations of a divestment working group set up to consider whether Cambridge should divest.

The University’s decision, and the divestment working group, have since come under wider scrutiny. A bombshell Guardian investigation in January revealed that two members of the Working Group, Professor Simon Redfern and John Shakeshaft, were involved in considering donations from BP and BHP, which together amounted to £22 million.


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As part of its commitment to divestment, Clare Hall has promised to advocate for increased transparency in the operations of the CUEF. It will be pushing the CUEF to adopt a divestment policy during the funds transitory period, and if this does not happen within the next 5 years, all of its £26.6 million investment will be withdrawn.

Vice Chancellor Stephen Toope is a professorial fellow at Clare Hall and member of the College’s governing body.

In a statement, campaigning group Cambridge Zero Carbon said: “With his own college committing to full divestment, it is time the Vice Chancellor faces the facts: divestment presents effective, pragmatic action on climate crisis, and the vast majority of his students and staff support it.”

They also said that Clare Hall’s decision was a “landmark moment”, adding that “The whole of Cambridge University is demanding urgent action on climate crisis, it is up to those with the power to listen and lead.”

A Varsity investigation in June 2018 found that the majority of colleges do not intend to divest their endowments from fossil fuels, citing the structure of their investments and rules from the Charity Commission.

Alongside Queens’ and Downing, the college’s decision marks almost £160 million of funding from Cambridge colleges’ divested from the fossil fuel industry in the last 9 months — £86.2 million from Queens’, £45.6 million from Downing, and £26.6 million from Clare Hall.

Since February, Selwyn has also partially divested and no longer holds any direct investments in fossil fuels companies.

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