The following groups have endorsed Sustainable Trent’s proposal for fossil fuel divestment, as outlined in the letter below:
Trent Part-Time Student Association
CUPE Local 3908
Trent Queer Collective
Trent University Figure Skating Club
Trent University Native Association
Kawartha World Issues Center
Trent Active Minds
Trent Fashion Show
Dear Trent University President and Board of Governors,
The (group name) is in full support of Sustainable Trent’s proposal for Trent University to divest from the fossil fuel industry within five years. Our endorsement is based on the rationale that divestment is a practical and feasible decision that is both financially prudent and ethically responsible. (Group name) endorses the March 2013 Resolution on Fossil Fuel Divestment, Sustainable Trent’s Proposal for the Investment & Pension Committee, and the student group’s presentation to the Board of Governors on January 31st.
Sustainable Trent’s divestment proposal reflects the interests of the Trent community. Students demonstrated their broad support for fossil fuel divestment in the March 2013 TCSA elections, voting in favour of Sustainable Trent’s proposal by a wide margin of 76%. Additionally, an online petition calling for divestment has garnered over 500 signatures, a number that continues to grow.
Divesting from the fossil fuel industry is a financially prudent decision, as indicated by recent financial analysis included in Sustainable Trent’s proposal. If governments take action to reduce carbon emissions in order to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, then fossil fuel companies will have to keep 80% of their current reserves in the ground. This means that $20 trillion of assets could become obsolete, representing a massive carbon bubble that could put fossil fuel investments at risk of collapse. In their current state, Trent University’s pension and endowment funds are at risk from this fall-out, and the prudent move is to manage that risk proactively by removing funds from fossil fuel company assets.
Investments in the fossil fuel industry are also unethical due to their role in driving climate change, unsustainable and environmentally destructive resource extraction, violation of Indigenous and human rights, and corruption of democracy. As an institution that exists to serve students and the promotion of their future wellbeing, Trent University has a moral obligation to ensure that it is not putting their future lives and careers at risk. One of the stated objectives in Trent University’s Mission Statement is to “foster sustainability, in its environmental, social and economic dimensions, on our campuses and in all aspects of our work.” Given the fossil fuel industry’s unsustainable business plan, to divest from fossil fuels would be to honour this mission statment.
Divestment would be a bold step, and position Trent University as an innovative leader in sustainability. With other fossil fuel divestment campaigns growing on university campuses across Canada, we have the opportunity to position ourselves as the first University in Canada to divest. (Group name) hopes that the Board of Governors listens to student voices and makes the responsible and practical decision: to divest from fossil fuels.