McGill University on Thursday announced it would “reduce the overall carbon footprint of its investment portfolio as part of its ongoing commitment to fighting climate change and its own stewardship role with respect to sustainability.”
However Divest McGill, which for seven years has been fighting to see the university completely eliminate any investment in fossil fuel, accuses the administration of “greenwashing” and “refusing to cut ties with an industry that profits from and fuels the climate crisis.”
The university’s announcement said McGill’s Board of Governors had approved all the proposed recommendations from an advisory committee that focuses on matters of social responsibility. The committee recommends that McGill’s endowment portfolio reduce its “exposure to carbon-intensive investments, including those within the fossil fuel industry.” The report also recommends that the university increase its investments in “clean technologies, renewable energy infrastructure and fossil-fuel-free funds.”
“Adopting a more carbon-conscious investment approach complements McGill’s far-reaching climate change and sustainability goals, including institution-wide efforts to achieve carbon neutrality across the university’s operations by 2040,” said McGill principal and vice-chancellor Suzanne Fortier in communiqué.
However in a posting on its Facebook page made prior to the university’s announcement, Divest McGill accused the institution of doing little more than “greenwashing”.
“Their decision to annually assess the carbon footprint of the endowment is a ploy,” the group wrote. “They want you to believe in their commitment to sustainability while they continue to invest in the very industry fuelling the climate crisis.”