Fitzwilliam College has adopted new investment principles prioritising environmental, social and governance behaviour as part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability.
Protection of the global environment, promotion of human rights and promotion of good business ethics and employment practices are fundamental tenets of the policy, which was developed following a series of consultations involving students, Fellows, alumni members and staff of the College.
Since 2016, the College has not invested directly in high impact fossil fuels, tobacco manufacturers, or weapons manufacturers. Fitzwilliam has now taken the next step, placing ESG principles at the heart of the College’s investment policy, so that indirect investments in these areas will also be minimised and kept under constant review.
Fitzwilliam College Master Sally Morgan said: “This is a really positive step and shows the College is committed to a forward-thinking investment strategy.
“This move follows detailed and serious examination led by Fitzwilliam College Bursar Andrew Powell and our Investment Advisory Committee, which includes Fellows, students and external members, and wider consultation.
“We aim to keep improving the ESG quality of our investments as the investment market develops.”
A student survey, a workshop with the College’s investment advisors, and a student debate around divestment from fossil fuels contributed to the implementation of the policy.
The draft policy was discussed at an open meeting held in College last month (23 October), to ensure that the policy takes into account the wide range of views held across the College, and was approved unanimously by the College’s Governing Body on Wednesday 27 November.
Aisha Sobey, Fitzwilliam College MCR President, said: “It's amazing to be part of a college that is driving the ethical investment agenda forward. Fitzwilliam’s genuine engagement with the student body went above and beyond of what was required.
“The level of respect Fitz has for the concerns of its constituents is reflected in how we've moved so far forward on a sustainable and positive investment agenda.
“The JCR President and I even had the opportunity to change the wording in the new policy to allow for continued advancement in ethical investing as the market for this develops.
“Continued student involvement in shaping our portfolio and oversight to make sure the policy has real impact has been welcomed.”
Ellie Brain, Fitzwilliam College JCR President, said: “I am so proud of Fitzwilliam College (staff and students) who have collectively developed this policy.
“I consider it exciting and transformative for Fitz. I am impressed by Fitzwilliam's willingness to listen to its students, through open meetings, working groups, through our debating society, and through student representation on the Investment Advisory Committee.
“As times change, Fitzwilliam College has shown it changes too.”
The news follows the launch of an innovative programme to offset the carbon emissions stemming from all Fitzwilliam-supported travel, which is part of a much wider discussion on environmental issues and sustainability that Fitzwilliam College members are taking part in.
The Fitzwilliam College Statement of Investment Policy is published on the official information pages of our website.