Emmanuel amended its investment strategy in November last year Daniel Gayne

Emmanuel College is confirmed to have withdrawn all its direct investments in fossil fuel companies, including Royal Dutch Shell and Enel Spa, as a result of its decision to have its investment portfolio fall in line with the Paris Accords.

The college’s advocacy group Divest & Disarm Emmanuel confirmed to Varsity that, after viewing the college’s most recent investment portfolio on 31st March, the college’s investments in all companies that extract, process, and export fossil fuels have been removed. The group claimed that more than £5.7m has been removed on total, based on data from a Varsity investigation and FOI requests obtained in September 2018.

The college is also confirmed to have removed investments in arms companies Airbus SE and United Technologies.

In November last year, Emmanuel College amended its investment strategy to fall in line with the Paris Accords. The college at the time declined to comment on whether they would divest from Royal Dutch Shell and Colgate Palmolive.

A Varsity investigation last year revealed that the college had the second largest holding in fossil fuel industry among Oxbridge colleges which responded to information requests, with £1.6m invested in Royal Dutch Shell. Another investigation revealed that the college holds the largest amount of arms investment among Cambridge colleges, with nearly £2.9m in two arms companies.

Divest and Disarm Emmanuel “congratulates” the college on this “significant step”, and is also “pleased” with the college’s commitment to continuous evaluation of its investment portfolio “in order to remain in line with the principles of the Paris Accords.”

The group proceeds to urge the college to “start investigations into alternative ‘green’ investment funds to ensure there is no indirect investment in the fossil fuel sector.”

The president of Emmanuel College Students’ Union (ECSU) told Varsity that they are “overjoyed” at the decision, describing it as “an issue that has been tirelessly worked on by Divest and Disarm Emmanuel and ECSU’s officers”.

“I think, more than anything, this is a testament to the importance of good communication and collaboration between JCRs and college campaign groups”.

Zero Carbon commented on the college’s decision as sending “a clear signal that the fossil fuel industry has no place in a liveable future.” The society further urges for the University to “commit to full divestment now”.

CUSU Ethical Affairs campaign said in a statement that the decision is “further evidence that the tide is turning against the fossil fuel industry at Cambridge”, showing that University and college investments in the fossil fuel industry is “unacceptable”. The campaign also calls for the University and colleges to “commit to urgent action to avoid being left on the wrong side of history”.

Emmanuel College is the fifth college to withdraw direct investments from the fossil fuel industry, following Peterhouse, Queens’, Downing, and Clare Hall.

  • Updated, 22nd May 2019: This article was updated to included comment from Emmanuel College Students’ Union.

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