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University of Copenhagen commits to invest fossil free

The University of Copenhagen will not invest in fossil fuel companies that are fuelling climate change. It’s the first university in Denmark to commit to a fossil free investment strategy.

On Tuesday the university board voted unanimously to blacklist investments in companies that derive more than 5% of their revenues from activities linked to prospecting, extracting or refining coal, oil and gas, as well as companies that provide equipment and services to the fossil fuel industry. A board member from the oil company Maersk Oil was the only one to abstain from the vote.

Associate Professor Thomas Meinert Larsen, who has been pushing for the university to divest, said:

“I am very happy and proud of the decision the University of Copenhagen has taken. It’s a vital move because scientists around the world keep stressing the urgency to tackle climate change now. It’s also beneficial to the university’s reputation. If you want to be seen as a sustainable university, you have to ensure your investments are green, not black.”

Last week, 100 professors, staff and student representatives from the university released an open letter calling on the institution’s board to align its investments with its goals of being a sustainable university. Until the end of September, the chair of the university board was still publicly maintaining that it was ‘unrealistic’ to cut their ties to oil and gas companies.

While divestment campaigners applaud the university’s decision to no longer invest in fossil fuels, they emphasise that the university also needs to stop accepting funding from the industry. Between 2009 and 2015, the University has received 100 million Danish kroner from oil companies to fund research into new technologies for oil extraction.

The University of Copenhagen follows the lead of the City of Copenhagen, which decided to divest from fossil fuels earlier this year and successfully put pressure on Danish banks to offer fossil free investment options.