The fossil fuel divestment campaign won a major victory today as Stanford University announced it would drop coal companies from its massive $18.7 billion endowment, the fourth largest of any American university. The action follows a petition by student group Fossil Free Stanford, five months of research by Stanford’s Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility and Licensing, and finally a vote by the Board of Trustees.
“The university’s review has concluded that coal is one of the most carbon-intensive methods of energy generation and that other sources can be readily substituted for it,” said Stanford President John Hennessy. “Moving away from coal in the investment context is a small, but constructive, step while work continues, at Stanford and elsewhere, to develop broadly viable sustainable energy solutions for the future.”
The move means that Stanford will sell off any stock related to around 100 global companies that make most of their money from extracting coal. However the university will not sell off investments related to other fossil fuels, such as gas and oil, at this time.
Eleven other smaller universities have divested from fossil fuels entirely, but Stanford is the first major university to move forward on fossil fuel divestment, an issue that has plagued other institutions, such as Harvard.
By Jeremy Hance