The University of California announced Wednesday that it sold its $200 million direct holdings in coal and oil sand companies from the University’s endowment, pension and other funds.
Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Bachher made the announcement at the UC Board of Regents Committee on Investments teleconference meeting.
At the meeting, Bachher said the decision to sell off the holdings was a result of the UC’s commitment to establishing an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible investment framework.
Bachher added he thinks coal mining companies have been experiencing a slowing global demand for the resource and difficult regulatory conditions over the years, making them a risky investment. Similarly, Bachher said he thinks oil sand companies have faced a higher competition from Middle East suppliers.
“This is not part of a blanket divestment strategy but, rather, in keeping with our environmental, social and governance (EGS) investment strategy,” said Dianne Klein, a spokesperson for the University.
Environmental student groups have been pushing for the University to divest its holdings from companies that extract fossil fuels, such as oil and coal.
Last year, the UC created a task force to discuss the possibility of divesting from fossil fuel companies, following numerous student protests and other major universities’ decisions to divest.
In September 2014, the UC Task Force on Sustainable Investing recommended the University invest $1 billion over five years in companies that promote sustainability, rather than divesting from fossil fuel companies.
The University currently manages a $98.2 billion portfolio across its pension, endowment and other working capital funds.
Compiled by Shreya Maskara, Bruin senior staff.