Clare will shift 80% of its equity holdings into the Amundi ESG Global Low Carbon Fund, which will work with colleges from Oxford and Cambridge to “improve green revenues” whilst excluding fossil fuels and thermal coal.

The Clare Divestment Campaign has published an open letter calling for Paul Warren, the Clare College bursar, to push for full divestment from the fossil fuel industry.

The open letter writes: “Our institutional response as a College must reflect the extreme urgency of the crisis we are facing, and this is why we ask the College to commit to full divestment”.

“We hold that this would also be a sound action in terms of safeguarding the value of Clare’s investments in the long term, as portfolios investing in the fossil fuel industry will almost certainly see their value fall in the near future.”

Clare College has currently committed to shift “80% of its equity holdings into the Amundi ESG Global Low Carbon Fund”, according to a statement by the Clare Union of Clare Students (UCS). This is a fund that does not use fossil fuels, meaning that “80% of the College’s investments will now meet sustainability criteria that fully exclude companies holding oil, gas, and coal reserves”.

Clare has not committed to divesting the remaining 20% of its investments, which are intended to be placed in UK equities in order to balance their portfolios. These equities may include fossil fuel companies.

“As the UK is home to several large fossil fuel companies”, the UCS and MCR are pushing for full divestment to “ensure that this is not a way of increasing fossil fuel exposure through the back door”, the UCS stated.

“Whilst we welcome their recent move, the UCS is calling on College to go further”, the UCS told Varsity. “Without a public commitment to accompany it, College’s decision will have far less of an effect on the fossil fuel industry than it might otherwise have done.”

“Whilst the move to Amundi is likely to reduce College’s exposure to the industry, this cannot be known for sure until College has committed to divesting its residual 20%”, said the UCS.

“In principle, College’s exposure to fossil fuels could stay the same, or even increase, despite this decision.”

The open letter calls for the college to “publicly commit to not holding the remaining 20% of the College’s investments either directly or indirectly in the fossil fuel industry” and to “commit to a clear and transparent timeline for its divestment process, at a pace that reflects the urgency of the global crisis”.

The letter cites the three main reasons for divestment as “the moral imperative, the promotion of a necessary societal and political change, and the poor financial sense of investments in fossil fuel companies”.

“As the climate crisis escalates, the pandemic exposes fragilities in the fossil fuel industries, and more and more institutions commit to playing their part, the UCS believes that Clare cannot justify maintaining investment in the fossil fuel industry”, the UCS states.

“The failure of a College with such a large endowment to fully divest will cause direct, irreversible damage to natural resources, and to the communities that depend on them”, the Clare Divestment Campaign told Varsity.

“As a first step towards climate justice, we therefore urge College to urgently commit to full divestment, and publicly present a sensible and transparent timeline for the removal of all direct and indirect investments in polluting industries”, they continued.

The College's Finance Committee will be meeting again on November 23rd, and “UCS and MCR representatives hope to receive a firmer commitment from College" on full divestment at this meeting. 

The campaign for full divestment at Clare follows news breaking that Amundi ESG Global Low Carbon Fund will partner with colleges from both Oxford and Cambridge to start a “low-carbon index tracking fund”, aiming to “improve green revenues” whilst excluding fossil fuels and thermal coal.


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Calls for divestment at Clare also follows the University’s commitment to divest from all direct and indirect fossil fuel investments by 2030 announced earlier this academic year.

The University's announcement preceded Christ’s College’s commitment to full divestment on the 2nd October, joining other colleges such as Queen’s and Clare Hall (who have already fully divested). Lucy Cavendish also joined nine other colleges on the 7th October in their commitment to partial divestment.

Clare College was contacted by Varsity for comment.