Sustainable Energy

Leading university to divest from fossil fuels as it aims to go carbon neutral

Key Points
  • The University of Edinburgh wants to be carbon neutral by 2040.
  • It is a signatory to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment.
JByard | iStock | Getty Images

The University of Edinburgh is to complete its move away from fossil fuel investments within the next three years, it announced Monday.

The Scottish university said it was committed to becoming carbon neutral by the year 2040 and had invested over £150 million ($209 million) since 2010 in low carbon technology, climate-related research and businesses that benefit the environment.

"Climate change is one of the world's biggest challenges," Charlie Jeffery, senior vice principal at the university, said in a statement. "Over the past few years, we have thought hard about how to respond to that challenge. This change in our investment strategy is a vital step on that journey."

The University of Edinburgh said it had around £1 billion of funds under management, with investments in fossil fuels representing less than 1 percent of that total. Monday's decision marks the institution's latest attempt to burnish its environmental credentials. In 2015, it removed £2.5 million of investment from businesses involved in coal and tar sands.

In 2013, it became a signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment, a United Nations-backed initiative looking to boost the sustainability of the global financial system.