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Divestment committee invites comments

Divestment committee invites comments

An advisory committee is seeking input from the Queen’s community on whether the ­university should divest its Pooled Endowment Fund and Pooled Investment Fund from public companies that engage in fossil fuel extraction and distribution.

[photo of Grant Hall]
Photo by Charis Ho

An advisory committee is seeking input from the Queen’s community on whether the ­university should divest its Pooled Endowment Fund and Pooled Investment Fund from public companies that engage in fossil fuel extraction and distribution.

Principal Daniel Woolf struck the Advisory Committee on Divestment of Fossil Fuels, as ­required by the ­university’s ­Statement on Responsible ­Investing (SRI), ­after receiving an expression of ­concern from the student group Queen’s ­Backing Action on Climate Change. ­Divestment is not ­currently ­being considered for the Queen’s Pension Plan.

“Consultation is an important part of the advisory committee’s mandate,” says David Allgood, Arts’70, Law’74, the committee’s chair. “We look forward to ­receiving views and evidence from students, staff, faculty, ­retirees, alumni and any ­individual or group that wishes to contribute during the consultation process.”

According to its mandate, the committee must assess whether the activities of public fossil fuel companies constitute “social injury,” as defined in the SRI, and what ­action, if any, to recommend to the university.

Consultation is an important part of the advisory committee’s mandate. We look forward to receiving views and evidence from students, staff, faculty, retirees, alumni and any individual or group that wishes to contribute during the consultation process.

“The committee is particularly interested in hearing views on the question of social injury,” says Mr. Allgood. “Depending on its findings, the committee could recommend that no further ­action be taken, that the university ­divests, or that Queen’s remain invested and ­undertake shareholder engagement activities.”

There are three ways to participate in the ­consultation process: general views may be ­submitted to the advisory committee via its ­webpage or by email [see above]; formal ­written submissions may be sent in response to the ­committee’s call for submissions; or a request can be made to present directly to the committee. All submissions should be sent to the committee no later than Sept. 15.

A series of meetings is currently being organized to allow individuals and groups to present to the committee, whether in person on the Queen’s campus or by teleconference. Although details have not yet been finalized, anyone ­interested in this option may email the committee for further details.

The advisory committee is expected to ­conclude its work at the end of September and will make its recommendation to the principal on what action, if any, should be taken. The ­principal will then bring that recommendation to the investment committee of the Board of Trustees for a final decision.

[photo of Queen's staff, faculty and students with a sign "Focus on mental health"]