McMaster, like many universities, currently invests in fossil fuels and fossil fuel companies. Currently, 4.3 percent of McMaster’s 800 million dollar endowment fund goes to companies that use non-renewable energy (about 40 million dollars). It is indisputable that fossil fuels, like oil and coal, are leading proponents in the rising global average temperature.
In 2016, McMaster vowed to take an ESG (equity social governance) approach, meaning they would screen all their investments for specific standards, including environmental ones. However, these screenings are not made publicly accessible and can be seen as low commitment in response to pressing climate concerns in 2020.
Our mission at MacDivest is twofold. On the one hand, we want to raise awareness to McMaster students about their university’s unsustainable investments. On the other hand, we want to work and research with academia to formulate a thorough divestment (dis-investment) recommendation to the university that is appropriate given the current climate.
On March 25, 2022, in line with the International Climate Strike Day, MacDivest and Fridays for Future Hamilton called on McMaster University students and staff to participate in a school-wide walk-out from classes, tutorials, and seminars. This walk-out aimed to pressure McMaster’s Board of Governors to commit to a formal plan for divesting their funds from fossil fuels and reinvesting funds into green technologies. [...]