The BU board of trustees voted yesterday to begin selling off the university's holdings in fossil-fuel companies, school President Robert Brown announced today.
In e-mail to the BU community, Brown said that effective immediately, school investment managers will no longer make any purchases in companies that sell carbon-releasing energy products and to start looking for investments in fossil-fuel‐free products.
The school will begin to sell off the holdings it already has in such energy companies, but over time, possibly as long as a decade, "to avoid large financial losses associated with rapid sale of finite‐lived private equity investments."
Harvard announced a similar fossil phase out on Sept. 9.
Brown added that BU trustees also asked the school investment office to look at ways to "measure greenhouse gas emissions generated by the endowment investment managers’ underlying corporate holdings" and to come up with ways to offset those entities’ net emissions," with the idea of moving to net-zero greenhouse-gas investment holdings by 2050.
Brown continued that the change in investment policy, while important, is a small part of BU's overall plan to do its part "to prevent the global calamity caused by climate change" that includes retrofitting all of the school's 345 buildings to reduce their energy use, the launch of a wind-power project to match the school's energy use for the next 15 years and research by BU professors and students to develop "new technologies that have the potential to radically reduce energy consumption and mitigate the worst effects of global warming." He ends:
As we have learned to live and work with the virus that causes COVID-19, we face another silent killer that is ultimately more dangerous than a virus. We face the challenge of changing our way of life at unprecedented speed if we are going to preserve the Earth’s environment as we know it.