BURNABY — Josh Cairns, executive director of Embark Sustainability Society, made the following statement in response to SFU’s draft amendment to its Responsible Investment Policy:
“The draft Responsible Investment Policy revision is, unfortunately, a significant step backward for SFU. In recent years, the university has made considerable progress regarding its stance on divestment, including its decision to create the Responsible Investment Committee and increase its contribution to socially-responsible funds. We are therefore both surprised and disappointed to see the Responsible Investment Policy revision contradict the university’s supposed progressive stance on climate action.
“The policy revision, if it is adopted in its current form, creates an unjust test for the university’s investments that ensure divestment will not occur. The revision would require decisions regarding divestment to consider, among other things: how large SFU’s investment is relative to the entity’s entire market capitalization; if more than 10% of the entity’s revenues are derived from injurious activity; and if it can be proven that divestment would have a significant, direct impact on the entity.
“These tests paint a rather bleak picture of the university’s reasoning on its investments. The tests state that as long as an entity derives less than 10% of its revenues from an activity that directly harms people or the environment, and as long as the university’s investments are not a significant proportion of the entity’s market capitalization, then SFU will not consider divesting from these entities.
“This is not the engaged university that students expect. Nor is it the university that celebrates its history of progressive students protesting to make positive change.
“SFU has an opportunity to lead western Canadian institutions on divestment. We encourage the university to follow in the footsteps of the University of Ottawa, which recently committed to decarbonizing its investments in accordance with Canada’s emission reduction commitments. As a signatory of the Paris Pledge for Action, which calls on all signatories to take immediate action to limit world temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, SFU should ensure its actions align with the just future it has publicly committed to.”
Olivia Hui, External Relations Officer
Josh Cairns, Executive Director
(778) 782 4209
Draft Responsible Investment Policy Revision B10.16 – SFU Draft Policies