The University of Sydney has today announced that it will be reviewing its investment policy and that it has instructed its fund managers to cease all future purchases in Whitehaven Coal while the review is underway.
The University currently has close to $1 million worth of shares in Whitehaven, the company behind a controversial new coal mine at Maules Creek.
The decision coincides with last Tuesday’s launch of a Greenpeace led campaign against the investment, and the successful efforts of Fossil Free USyd to get a referendum of the undergraduate student body on the ethics of fossil fuel investment onto the ballot at the upcoming SRC elections.
The review has been welcomed by Clo Schofield of Fossil Free USyd. “This is a step in the right direction.” she said. “We urge the University to act to review all investments in fossil fuels and act in line with its commitment to the principles of Environmental and Social Governance to divest from climate change.”
Greenpeace campaigner Nikola Casule was more wary. “While this is an important first step, it is clear that the University already knows enough to justify dumping its entire $1 million investment in this destructive company today,” he said. “Each day that the University of Sydney delays is another day that Whitehaven Coal can use University money to push its destructive plans through.”
At the time of writing, the University was unable to offer a timeframe for the review’s completion or confirm that it intends to sell its existing holdings in Whitehaven.