An independent review of the University’s finances confirms investments in fossil fuels have dramatically reduced.
The report by financial advisers Mercer said that the proportion of Edinburgh’s portfolio linked to fossil fuels has halved since 2013 and fallen by almost 90 per cent since 2008.
The findings reflect Edinburgh’s continuing commitment to make a significant, sustainable and socially responsible contribution to Scotland, the UK and the world.
In 2013 Edinburgh became the first university in Europe to become a member of the Principles for Responsible Investment, a UN-backed initiative which aims to make the global financial system more sustainable.
In May 2015, the University signalled its intention to use its investments and procurement power to support the transition to a low carbon economy and to divest from the most destructive fossil fuel companies.
Within weeks, £2.5 million pounds of investment was removed from firms involved in the high polluting areas of coal and tar sands.
In December 2015 the University moved investments into the Global Alpha Choice Fund. Like a number of other universities, this filters out companies with any significant interests in armaments, tobacco, gambling and pornography from direct investments.
This report underlines the significant progress the University is making on ethical and responsible investments. The University is travelling in a clear direction and we have done what we said we would do swiftly and effectively.
Investments is only a small part of a much bigger picture of how the University is tackling issues of sustainability and climate change.
The University is employing many of its world-class abilities to identify the threat climate change poses, particularly to some of the world’s most vulnerable communities, and to develop innovative technologies to help mitigate against it.
It is one of the UK’s leaders in Combined Heat and Power technology. It has invested more than £20m in low-carbon energy to provide the majority of the campuses’ electricity needs. This has reduced emissions by almost 10,000 tonnes annually.
Edinburgh’s climate research is world leading. Its researchers have secured more than £50 million over the last seven years to fund work on climate science, emissions mitigation and sustainable solutions.
The University is home to several centres of climate and energy expertise. It undertakes ground breaking research into renewable energy, and teaches a range of innovative programmes in carbon management.
Notable research includes: