March 2, 2021
To: the Carleton University Board of Governors Investment Committee
Respected committee members and community leaders,
In late February, Carleton University announced its participation in the UNIE / SHARE initiative. In our efforts to have ongoing conversations about responsible investment and your commitment to listening to students, CUSA would like to share our thoughts on the initiative.
Responsible investing is multi-faceted; there is no singular solution or approach that covers all concerns. While the UNIE / SHARE initiative is a positive step, it is only one step out of many that need to be taken. In particular, it is clear that investor engagement is not sufficient when it comes to fossil fuel corporations. While industries like transportation and manufacturing face risks to their capital and other assets due to the effects of climate change, fossil fuels and their production are a leading cause of the climate crisis and their impact cannot be addressed through investor engagement alone.
Furthermore, asset stranding remains a huge contributor to financial risk. Full implementation of the regulations and policies aimed at capping global mean temperature rise to 1.5℃ will lead to the stranding of roughly 84% of fossil fuel assets, with estimates of worldwide losses reaching as high as $20 trillion USD. Investor engagement is insufficient to protect us from the financial risk posed by fossil fuel investments. A shift away from these investments, over a reasonable timeline of 5 years, is crucial to ensure future students continue to benefit from a strong endowment fund.
We are glad to see Carleton University collaborating with climate action leaders like Concordia, and hope to see Carleton follow their leadership by divesting our endowment funds from fossil fuels as well. In particular, we appreciate Carleton publicizing this responsible investing action, and look forward to continued transparency on the outcomes of these actions and its other investor engagement initiatives.
On behalf of all students, CUSA looks forward to continuing to work together to ensure our investments reflect our institutional values of bold leadership in climate action and sustainability.
Kiara Nazon & Watson
CUSA Climate Officers