November 17th, Canberra
Partially divesting ANU’s portfolio from fossil fuels has already had a positive financial impact, according to Chris Grange, Executive Director of the ANU.
At a Budget Forum on November 13th Mr Grange, whose role includes coordinating the overall University budget, happily acknowledged that the partial divestment saved them millions.
“The decision to divest had a significant positive financial impact due largely to the major drops in the share prices of the seven companies from which we divested, post our divestment decision,” Mr Grange said.
“The University is currently reconfiguring our Australian equities portfolio and we are introducing a tilt that is aimed to reduce the carbon footprint of our share portfolio.”
This tilt on its Australian equities portfolio will reduce its carbon intensity by 25% compared to the ASX200.
“For Mr Grange to say that is a huge win for us; it’s a really good outcome,” said Fossil Free ANU spokeswoman Miriam Adams-Schimminger. “Fossil fuels are increasingly becoming stranded assets and bad investments, and we’ve been saying that all along. It is great that the University is seeing it too.”
However, new research has determined that ANU has lost over $53m in the past three years due to their continued investments in fossil fuels.
Carried out by Coperate Knights, South Pole, and 350.org, the analysis shows that global investors lost billions of dollars over the past three years by remaining invested in fossil fuel companies.
“We’re not surprised by this finding. All the evidence says that investing in fossil fuels is not only bad for the climate, but that it’s bad for returns,” Ms Adams-Schimminger said. “Fully divesting from fossil fuels is really in ANU’s best interest, both financially and as a world leading university.”
In October last year ANU divested from two fossil fuel companies and five resource companies as part of its Socially Responsible Investment policy. The decision was widely supported by the ANU community but sparked a media furor that drew the ire of commentators and Cabinet Ministers.