The University of Sydney is going green
By Victoria Saule
The University of Sydney has become Australia’s first tertiary institute to terminate future investments in the coal-mining industry following a week of campaigns against its investment in Whitehaven Coal shares.
Environmental activist group Greenpeace spoke out against the university’s recent $900,000 investment in Whitehaven Coal, which prompted 16,500 emails condemning the move to be sent to university vice-chancellor Michael Spence.
“Universities have a special role in thought leadership and should be participating in Australia’s transition from a disproportionately resource-based economy to a knowledge, information and service-based future…fossil fuel divestment needs to be part of that,” Greens leader Christine Milne told the Brisbane Times.
Milne applauded the move as a step towards cutting Australia’s global warming impact.
Sydney University is currently considering divestment in Whitehaven Coal – a company which has sparked controversy over it’s recent development of a coal mine in Maules Creek, intruding on the sacred land of the local indigenous community.
In light of the recently proposed cuts to university funding, universities across Australia have reviewed investments in order to maximise financial revenue.
Despite declining to comment on whether Melbourne University will follow Sydney’s lead – the Vice Chancellor of Melbourne University, Glyn Davis told staff in an email that it’s investment management committee was concerned with “the potential impact of climate change issues on the value of investments.”
Student groups in Sydney University such as Fossil Free wholeheartedly support the motion and aim to encourage the university’s divestment in environmentally unethical companies.