17 March 2024
University of Birmingham - Divest from Fossil Fuels

Dear University of Birmingham investment team,

We are writing to you to ask that you commit to completely divesting from fossil fuels within the next three years.

We want to see the introduction of a publicly accessible ethical investment policy that specifies the exclusion of fossil fuels.

We want a centralised web page which contains all the information about fossil fuel investments and is kept up to date.

We also would like to see fossil fuel recruiters boycotted so they are no longer present at university careers events.

Students have been asking for this for a number of years. We have already seen an All Student Vote which resulted in the Guild boycotting fossil fuels last year. There have been protests at the presence of BP and Shell at careers events. The continuation of investment in this area is unjustifiable, given the evidence that students feel this level of discontent with it. As an educational institution this university should invest in its students' futures, not against them.

We recognise that the university is trying to make improvements and we are grateful to see that effort. We were glad to see the university rise from 101st to 35th position in the 2024 QS World Sustainability Ranking. It is especially exciting to see investment in fossil fuels go from 10% to 0.5% and then to 0.22%. It is clear from this improvement that the university has the capacity to radically reduce its fossil fuel investment, so why not divest completely, as other institutions have done before us? Of course, 0.22% might seem like an inconsequential portion of the university’s overall portfolio, but it is still £443k which amounts to almost 48 years worth of undergraduate tuition fees.

The University of Birmingham is now the only Russell Group that continues to invest. The university risks finding itself struggling to justify why students should choose to attend an institution that continues to support these companies. The university even has BP as an industry partner who supplies the Business School with guest lecturers and other benefits, revealing a direct influence on the education of Birmingham students. In 2022, BP reportedly generated just 0.17% of energy from renewable sources. 97% of the company's investment went to fossil fuels, and investment in renewable products was even reduced from 2021. How can the university justify its involvement with a company that does not seem at all interested in transitioning to green energy?

It is disconcerting to attend careers fairs and see companies like this supported by our university as potential employers for students. Of course it is the students’ right to choose their future careers, but platforming companies that have been accused of greenwashing, may put students at risk of being misled in terms of the credibility of the sustainable claims these industry giants are making. Why not focus on helping to promote companies that really are working towards a green future?

We look forward to hearing back from you.

Best regards,

Amnesty International Society in collaboration with other concerned students

50 verified
  1. Kinjell Singh, Hereford
  2. Imogen Challis
  3. Ilina Jha
  4. Nicole Berger, Student, Birmingham
  5. Olivia Sylge, Student, Birmingham
  6. Charlie O’Keeffe, UoB student, Birmingham
  7. Abigail Hernandez, Student, Birmingham
  8. Natasha Parker, Student, Birminghan
  9. Kanoya Kamalanathan, Student, Birmingham
  10. Aaron Naik, Student, University of Birmingham, Birmingham
  11. libby williams, student, birmingham
  12. Ruby, Student, Birmingham
  13. Leia Taylor, Student, Birmingham
  14. Hamza Khawaja, Student, University of Birmingham, Birmingham
  15. Lorna McBain, Student, University of Birmingham, Birmingham
  16. Gareth Lloyd, Student, UOB, Coventry
  17. Amit Ginbar, Student, University of Birmingham, Birmingham
  18. Anna Ginbar, Student, University of Birmingham, Birmingham
  19. Ester Hakvoort, Student, Birmingham
  20. Laura Tilly, Student, Birmingham
  21. Ismael Rodriguez Foronda, Ethical and Environmental Officer (2023/24), Birmingham
  22. Mokhtarur Fariha Fardip, University of Birmingham
  23. Vita Morris, Student, University of Birmingham, Birmingham
  24. christine o'loughlin, student, university of birmingham, birmingham
  25. Ellen, Student, Birmingham
  26. Sophia KAYANI, Student, Uni of Birmingham student, Birmingham
  27. Jenny Griffith, Student, Birmingham
  28. Edie Olsson, Student, University of Birmingham, Birmingham
  29. Melisa Akyol, Student, University of Birmingham, Birmingham
  30. Emily Katz, Student, University of Birmingham, Birmingham
  31. beth risidore, student, university of birmingham, birmingham
  32. Lucy Mould, Student, University of Birmingham, Birmingham
  33. Zoe devereux, student, amnesty, bristol
  34. Emily Lane, Student, Birmingham
  35. Yu-Xuan Chu, student, Uni of Birmingham, Birmingham
  36. Harshita Solanki, Student, University of Birmingham
  37. Ellen Davies, Student, Birmingham
  38. Noah Chaumeil, Student, Birmingham
  39. Alethea Biesty, student, University of Birmingham
  40. Elvira Zarina-Cristino, Student, Birmingham
  41. Nina Attwood, student, University of Birmingham, Birmingham
  42. Megan Hardwick, Student, University of Birmingham, Birmingham
  43. Alfred Webb, Student, University of Birmingham, Birmingham
  44. Eleanor Cowan, Student, Birmingham
  45. Amy-Rae Bennett, Student, University of Birmingham, Selly Oak, Birmingham
  46. Anisah Qazi, Student, University of Birmingham
  47. Vanessa Lim, student, University of Birmingham, Birmingham
  48. Holly Davis, Student, Birmingham
  49. Alice Tilley, Student, University of Birmingham
  50. Christal, Student, UOB, Birmingham
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