University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

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University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

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Call for Submissions

The Advisory Committee on Divestment of Fossil Fuels at Queen's University is currently considering the matter of divestment from companies that participate in the extraction and distribution of fossil fuels.

Principal Daniel Woolf struck the advisory committee, in accordance with the requirements of the university's Statement on Responsible Investing (PDF 45 KB), after receiving an Expression of Concern and request that the university divest its Pooled Endowment Fund and Pooled Investment Fund from fossil fuels. Divestment is not currently being considered for the Queen's Pension Plan.

Consultation is a central part of the mandate of the advisory committee, and it therefore invites interested parties to submit views or evidence that might inform its deliberations.  The committee is particularly interested in the following questions: 

"the injurious impact which the activities of a company are found to have on consumers, employees, or other persons, particularly including activities which violate, or frustrate, the enforcement of, rules of domestic or international law intended to protect individuals against deprivation of health, safety, or basic freedoms; for the purposes of these Guidelines, social injury shall not consist of doing business with other companies which are themselves engaged in socially injurious activities."

  1. Do the activities of public corporations engaged in fossil fuel extraction and distribution generally constitute "social injury" as defined in Queen's Statement on Responsible Investing (PDF 45 KB):
  1. If the activities of fossil fuel companies do constitute social injury as defined above, there are two possible approaches: (a) divestment or (b) remaining invested and engaging in shareholder engagement activities, such as: letters to management, supporting shareholder resolutions, voting of proxies and joining coalitions. Which course of action would you recommend to the university and why?

Interested parties should send their submissions to divestment@queensu.ca no later than Thursday, September 17, 2015. To facilitate a transparent consultation process, individuals who wish their submissions to be posted publicly on the advisory committee’s webpage should so indicate when making their submission.

You may also choose to submit informal comments to the committee by email or request to make a presentation at one of four upcoming committee meetings, either in person or by teleconference. Although the details for these meetings are currently being finalized, any interested individual or group can contact the committee at anytime to express interest and to receive more information.