Strathclyde commits to sustainable investment plan and 70% carbon emissions cut by 2025

Offshore wind turbines behind large waves.

The University of Strathclyde has committed to implementing a responsible investment plan and cutting carbon emissions by 70% over the next five years as part of its efforts to address climate change.

The University will transfer approximately 7% of its investment portfolio from direct investments to a sustainable fund portfolio managed by Newton Investment Management, resulting in a near-halving of the carbon intensity of the portfolio.

The announcement follows a commitment, outlined in Strathclyde’s recently-published new five-year strategic plan, to cut carbon emissions by 70% by 2025 as part of a drive towards net zero by 2040 or earlier.

A University Climate Change and Social Responsibility Plan will be published in the coming months detailing how this reduction in emissions will be achieved.

Socially-progressive values

Strathclyde’s investment portfolio is worth c.£46 million and provides income to support activities which directly contribute to enhancing the student experience.

The new responsible investment strategy, developed in conjunction with staff and students, is in line with the University’s strategy and socially-progressive values.

The University will transfer £3 million to Newton’s Sustainable Investment Fund which includes information technology and health care investments. The move will result in a near-halving of the carbon intensity of the investment portfolio, which will be reviewed annually.

Steven Wallace, Chief Financial Officer at Strathclyde, said:  “As a socially-progressive, values-driven organisation, the University of Strathclyde recognises and is fully aware of its responsibilities towards tackling climate change.

We are committed to implementing a responsible investment strategy that takes account of a range of environmental, social and governance issues to inform the University’s investment portfolio.”

The Newton Sustainable Investment Fund will not invest in companies that breach a number of criteria, including:

  • Tobacco (already excluded from existing investments)
  • Violation of the 10 UN Global Compact Principles (anticorruption, human rights, environment and labour standards)
  • Companies deemed incompatible with the ‘2 degree world’ climate change objective

Newton’s approach to sustainable investing seeks to support investment in companies that positively manage the material impacts of their operations and products on the environment and society, and to encourage change and transition in companies whose activities can be redirected more positively.

Kayla-Megan Burns, President of Strathclyde Students’ Union, said: “Sustainability is a key issue for students, we are in a decisive decade where we have to do all we can to avert catastrophic climate change and it is great to see Strathclyde positively investing in sustainable solutions.

“Students have campaigned to make their voices heard on this issue and we are delighted that the University has responded and look forward to our continued work together to achieve net zero emissions and to put sustainability at the heart of the Strathclyde experience.”