UCT divest – renewing the call in 2016
Note: This letter was originally intended for handover to the UCT administration at a planned campus march for divestment during Global Climate Week (10 Oct–). The divestment march has been postponed indefinitely, pending greater stability on campus, but this letter will be submitted to the UCT administration by the end of the COP 22 UN climate talks in Marrakech on 18 November 2016.

## UCT should commit urgently to fossil fuel divestment and sustainable reinvestment

Dear Vice-Chancellor Max Price, and the UCT Council,

We are members of the UCT community calling again on the University to make a public commitment to ethical social leadership, consistent with its stated public values, and to phase out, at the least, over no more than five years, all investments in fossil fuel companies listed in the Carbon Tracker Top 200, seeking where advisable alternative investments in renewable energy.

We note:

- that climate change is an enormous threat to the wellbeing of current and future generations of South Africans and Africans;
- that even the celebrated Paris COP 21 climate talks outcome is inadequate for staving off the threat of climate change, and so global civil society must act as well;
- that there is no logic to investments which pursue profit by impoverishing and destroying the world in which those profits are or can be useful;
- that a simulated portfolio based, for example, on the FTSE/JSE Top 40 over the past three years, offered substantially better returns when decarbonised on a sector neutral basis;
- that the international fossil fuel divestment movement has in the past four years made great progress as a moral stand against companies that profit from the ruthless destruction of the natural environment and others’ livelihoods;
- that, globally, funds worth $3.4 trillion dollars, including dozens of universities and cities, have now committed to divestment in various forms;
- the great success, so far, of South Africa’s renewable energy programme, offering ever more evidence that the era of fossil fuels is dead;
- that UCT is producing research to provide scientific evidence against the use of fossil fuels, which further substantiates the need for divestment action;
- that Archbishop Desmond Tutu urged UCT in 2014 to stop investing in fossil fuels;
- that Fossil Free UCT, Green Campus Initiative and the Climate Action Project have been calling for UCT to divest since 2013.

We commend the University and Council for establishing the Ethical Investment Task Team, and call for urgent progress in completing the Task Team’s work, in disclosing the University and UCT Foundation’s investments, and in opening the University’s investment decision-making process to representations from all interested parties.

We further call for investigation and action on making UCT’s own operations and infrastructure more sustainable and carbon neutral.

We know that there are many legitimate issues of social justice that demand consideration by the University, but hope the urgency of your considerations will match the urgency of stopping climate change, the greatest human rights and intergenerational justice issue of our time.

We request that this memorandum be shared with all members of the UCT Council and Ethical Investing Task Team, and be published in the Monday Paper.

Sincerely,


## Organisations

UCT Climate Action Project
Fossil Free UCT
Green Campus Initiative
United Nations Association of South Africa UCT Chapter

## Individuals

Alexa Brown, masters student, ACDI
James Irlam, senior lecturer
David Le Page, alumnus, coordinator Fossil Free UCT
Andile Mngoma, student
Zaynab Sadan, student
and 60 others (as at 17.11.16)

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