Fossil Fuel Divestment
Given that Western Washington University is committed to carbon neutrality by 2050 via the Climate Action Plan we call on our university to continue its leadership role in sustainability. The WWU Foundation Endowment, via its investments in certain comingled investment funds, maintains an indirect ownership interest in certain energy companies that are involved in the production or distribution of fossil fuel related products. The WWU Foundation Investment Policy includes a Social Responsibility Clause that allows an “independent weight” to be provided to the investment decisions made where “corporate policies or practices are deemed to cause substantial social injury." We believe that climate change poses such a substantial threat to our world and local community that the social injuries inflicted by its effects justify the inclusion of fossil fuel investments under this social injury clause. We believe that investing in funds which promote and/or engage in the burning of fossil fuels is unethical and contradictory to the mission of our university. The University intends to form a study group with students to examine its current investments and explore ways to best make a difference.
Should the student body support partnership efforts between students and administrators to examine Western Washington University’s current investments in companies involved in the production or distribution of fossil fuel related products, with the intention of regulating future investments and working to divest from current investments?
Because climate change is already causing crop failures, water shortages, forced migration, and the destruction of homes and lives around the world, we believe that it is immoral to profit from the burning of fossil fuels. By making a commitment to sell the fossil fuel stocks held in our endowment fund, Western could be the first public university to divest from fossil fuels out of hundreds of universities in America where students are pursuing this campaign, and become a leader in the emerging movement to transition to renewable energy. As the serious and necessary action is taken to address climate change, fossil fuels will not only be an immoral investment, but also a risky one.
No against statement was submitted.