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Harvard to Divest its Endowment from Fossil Fuels

by Sangam Paudel, Sep 29
2 minutes read

Harvard president Lawrence Bacow announced (on 9th September 2021) that the university would divest from its holdings in fossil fuels. This decision follows years of campus campaigns, spearheaded by Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, which has included protests, legal complaints, and even the storming of the Harvard-Yale football game in 2019. 2 weeks later, Boston University announced its decision to end endowment investments in fossil fuels. Divest BU had been calling for divestments since 2013.

Harvard University banner

So what?

Harvard’s and Boston University’s divestment from fossil fuels is part of a bigger movement of students calling on their universities to withdraw their investments from the fossil fuel industry, a sector that actively contributes to the climate crisis.
Harvard Management Company (HMC)’s investments in the sector make up less than 2 percent of Harvard’s more than $40 billion endowments, and the endowment’s exposure to the industry had decreased by more than 80 % since 2008. Thus, the divestment decision can be viewed both as the result of a successful student-led activism movement and as a financial decision made in line with global financial trends.
Considering the large endowments of many educational institutions and the presence of similar student-led initiatives in various institutions, divestment from fossil fuels is likely to continue in the near future.



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