Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Responsible investment

The University increasingly uses its investments to support environmentally and socially positive activities, thus contributing to a more sustainable global financial system.

Hands holding money from which plants are growing

This approach is called "responsible investment", and it underpins our Strategy 2030 vision and purpose to make the world a better place by addressing tomorrow's greatest challenges. The University is seen as a global leader in responsible investment. 

What is responsible investment?

Responsible investment is an investment strategy that integrates environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into investment analysis and decisions. It recognises that ESG factors can have an impact on the financial value of an investment and also that investments have an impact on the world around us. A responsible approach to investment recognises that long-term prosperity requires a move away from short-term profit as the only definition of value.


Below are our main areas of progress.

Fossil fuel divestment

The University has divested from fossil fuels, a significant milestone in its journey to be carbon neutral by 2040.

Climate-positive investments

Since 2010, the University has invested more than £170 million in low carbon technology, climate-related research and businesses that directly benefit the environment.

Socially positive investments

The University is investing up to £8m in social investments for the benefit of society.

Principles for Responsible Investment

As a signatory of the UN-supported "Principles for Responsible Investment", the University reports its responsible investment progress annually.

Our approach

The University increasingly manages its investments to support environmentally and socially positive activities, thus contributing to a more sustainable global financial system. One of our strengths is that this approach is fully incorporated into the University's strategies and plans:

In 2013, we were the first University in Europe to become a signatory of the UN's Principles of Responsible Investment, now known as PRI. We report annually on our progress.

The University first created a Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) policy in 2003 which was revised in 2006. This policy sought to protect and enhance the long term value of the fund by ensuring the University was a responsible investor. The University's approach was then updated in 2016 to our Responsible Investment Policy Statement, which is overseen by the Investment Committee

What we don't invest in

In addition to fossil fuels, the University does not invest in:

  • tobacco stocks
  • Ultra Electronics, a British company serving the defence market
  • controversial armament investments, such as anti-personnel mines or chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

Read our current list of investments for more information.

Get involved

Prosper Social Finance - the UK's first student-run socially responsible investment fund