After selling off more than $1 billion in assets over the last year, the University of California’s investment portfolio is now completely divested of oil, gas and other fossil fuel companies, UC announced Tuesday.
While it is not the first educational system to completely rid itself of fossil fuel investments, with about 285,000 students, it is the largest in the country to withdraw financial stakes in an industry that is the principal driver of climate change.
Richard Sherman, chair of the UC Board of Regents investments committee, said in a statement that the investment strategy includes a “hopeful view of the future.”
“As long-term investors, we believe the university and its stakeholders are much better served by investing in promising opportunities in the alternative energy field rather than gambling on oil and gas,” he said.
Jagdeep Singh Bachher, UC’s chief investment officer, said in a statement that fossil fuel companies posed “an unacceptable risk” financially.
For years, the climate advocacy group 350.org and student activists have led a campaign aimed at cutting off financing to fossil fuel companies by encouraging universities and other big financial institutions to walk away from the oil, gas and coal industries. The group’s slogan is “not a penny more.”