In an announcement on Tuesday, the University of Victoria board of governors approved a policy to reduce investment in “the worst producers of greenhouse gases across all sectors”.
The policy centres around the university’s $225 million short term investment fund, and according to their statement, will reduce carbon emissions by 45% by 2030.
“Through our research, academic programs, and sustainable campus operations, the university is dedicated to being a global leader in sustainability,” said UVic President Jamie Cassels. “This policy is one more way we can work together to have a measurable, effective impact.”
However the decision was heavily criticized by student and faculty movement Divest UVic whose members have been campaigning for full divestment from the fossil fuel industry for the past seven years.
“Their biggest competitor, UBC, has recently committed to full divestment and declared a climate emergency,” says a statement from Divest UVic.
“UVic is being left behind in this movement, and they are responding with a weak target for unspecified emissions reductions and a weak timeline of ten years. This is greenwashing, the UVic Administration is failing its community and we will not stand idly by.”
Meanwhile UVic’s vice-president of finance and operations, Gayle Gorrill, maintains that the 45% reduction is a challenging target.
“While the 45 per cent reduction is an ambitious goal that will challenge the university, as this is a new and developing area, we believe it was an important goal to set,” Gorrill said in a statement.
The measure is too little too late for the university community who took to Twitter after the news broke:
so inspired by the amazing, relentless resistance of @divestuvic and its organizers lately. i see your language, @uvic, i see right through the way you continue to pat yourself on the back louder and louder. youre good at trying, but you can’t silence us.
— Nat Karpovskaia (@natkarp) January 28, 2020
— Erin E. Donald (@ErinEDonald) January 27, 2020