The University of Manchester has published its 2021 Responsible Investment Report, confirming that it has ended investment in fossil fuel companies and has exceeded its target of reducing the carbon intensity of its other holdings.
In 2020 the University set out its new Policy for Socially Responsible Investment in which it promised to divest from fossil fuel companies and go further – by gradually decarbonising its entire investment portfolio.
The 2021 update confirms this divestment and that the University has exceeded its 30% carbon intensity reduction target, achieving a 37% reduction. The ambition is to reduce this to net zero by 2038 at the latest, in alignment with the University’s and city’s overall zero carbon commitments.
The report, published online, also confirms that the University has no holdings in companies producing tobacco, controversial weapons and those with the lowest environmental, social and governance rating.
It also details how the University’s fund managers have brought influence to bear on a range of social responsibility issues with companies such as Nike, Barclays and ArcelorMittal.
The University of Manchester currently holds over £200m in managed investments which relate to endowment funds gifted by donors. Income from these is used to support the University’s core services including those for students.
Professor Nalin Thakkar, Vice-President for Social Responsibility, said: “When we set out this policy we were clear that we wanted to be more radical than simply removing our investment from fossil fuel companies. We wanted to actively tilt our investment portfolio towards more carbon-efficient companies. While there is more to do, I’m really pleased that we’ve exceeded our target in our first year.”