UBC’s Board of Governors recognizes climate change is an important issue for faculty, staff, students, donors and other stakeholders, and respects their concerns and commitment.
In response to those concerns, the Board’s Finance Committee is recommending the creation of an alternative investment fund for donors that is low carbon and meets best practices for environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. If approved by the Board of Governors on February 15, the new Sustainable Future Fund will be established with an initial allocation of $10 million from the Trek endowment. This new fund will provide an alternative endowment investment choice for past or future donors.
The committee made the recommendation to create the Sustainable Future Fund after careful consideration of a student and faculty proposal for divestment from fossil fuel companies. As a result of a detailed review and third-party analysis, the committee concluded that the proposal would not necessarily meet the objectives of addressing climate change or influencing corporate behaviour. They also concluded that at this time, it would not be consistent with the board’s fiduciary obligation to endowment donors.
The committee is further recommending that the Endowment Responsible Investment Policy Committee of the Board of Governors — a committee of faculty, staff, student and appointed board members, as well as alumni and investment professionals — continue to evaluate investment alternatives that could improve ESG objectives for the endowment within UBC’s fiduciary mandate.
UBC has long been a leader in environmental and climate issues, launching Canada’s first university sustainability office in 1997. UBC engages in world-changing research and education, with more than 40 sustainability-related academic programs on campus, and more than 600 sustainability-oriented courses, 33 of which are directly related to climate change. UBC also remains on track to achieve the ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets established in 2010, which aim to reduce emissions by 67 per cent by 2020 and 100 per cent by 2050, compared with 2007 levels. As part of its commitment to being a global leader in sustainability, UBC will continue to collaborate with industry and government on effective solutions.
Vice-President, External Relations