U of T advised to sell coal, oil assets in its funds – by Tyler Hamilton (Toronto Star – December 17, 2015)


An advisory committee created last year by University of Toronto president Meric Gertler is recommending that the institution start divesting coal and oil assets from its massive $5.9 billion (U.S.) endowment and pension fund.

The 10-member committee, made up mostly of representatives from several university faculties, singled out fossil fuel companies that “blatantly disregard” the 1.5-degree C global warming threshold recognized in the Paris climate agreement and which engage in “socially injurious behaviour.”

“The university should, in a targeted and principled manner, divest from its direct holdings in such firms,” the committee recommended. Gertler received the report late Tuesday and called it a “timely” document he hopes will spark broader debate within the university community.

“I will be reading it again very carefully and seek additional advice to inform my ultimate decision on how the university should move forward,” said Gertler, adding that he expects to make a decision sometime next year.

ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Peabody Energy were directly named, but the committee said managers of the endowment – University of Toronto Asset Management – should target any company that meets the following criteria:

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