Hundreds sign petition to ‘Make the University of Leeds Fossil Free’

Over 300 people have signed a petition calling on the University of Leeds to adopt a fossil free strategy.

The petition launched by a student led group promoting the worldwide ‘Fossil Free’ campaign, urges the University to commit to sustainable alternatives in investments and sponsorship.

It says the University should divest from fossil fuel companies and ‘provide students with ethical careers advice and opportunities’

It also highlights concerns regarding the University’s responsibilities to adhere to its Policy on Socially Responsible Investment.

The petition comes after Glasgow University’s move to becoming Europe’s first academic institution to divest from fossil fuels following a 12 month campaign.

Speaking on behalf of Leeds’ Fossil Free campaign group, Emma Simpson, a final year student of International Relations, told The Gryphon,

‘We launched the Fossil Free petition at the end of October last year and have had, by and large, positive responses to the campaign demands. The main opposition has come from Engineering and other hard science students who worry that their courses and careers would be less well provided for in the absence of big fossil fuel companies. To address this concern, we’ve been building a financial portfolio of more sustainable funding options and corporate partnerships, and have presented this to the Vice Chancellor of the University.’

In response to the petition, a University spokesperson said: ‘We are encouraged that the fossil fuel debate is live on campus, and we want to take a proactive and constructive role in the discussion of this complex issue. The University undertakes a significant level of research into sustainability and climate change solutions. We actively promote ethical career options and opportunities on campus and we will continue to increase this activity. Moving forward, we are committed to reviewing all of the University’s sustainability related policies. We will continue to support, and be part of an open debate in this area.’

The group have planned to meet the University’s Vice Chancellor, Alan Langlands on the 4th February ‘to hear his conclusion on moving the University’s money out of fossil fuels’.

Click here for more information or to sign the petition.


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