University divestment is a powerful way to pressure institutions of higher education to align their financial investments with the values they espouse. Divestment sends a message of support for social justice causes, as well as an assertion that investing in certain industries may have negative implications on society.
Divestment from fossil fuels is one of the most common and successful forms of divestment. This is because universities have large endowments, with many receiving investments from oil and gas companies, some of which are responsible for much of the world’s carbon emissions. By withdrawing funds from these organizations, universities make a statement that they no longer support or accept their environmental practices.
What is Divestment?
Divestment is the process of withdrawing investments from certain industries or companies. It is often used to draw attention to organizations that are seen as detrimental to society, human rights, or the environment. Universities have a moral responsibility to align their financial investments with the values they espouse, and divestment can be an effective way to achieve this goal.
What is the Impact of University Divestment?
University divestment can have a profound impact on social justice causes, both in terms of direct financial support and in providing moral authority. For example, when universities divest from industries such as fossil fuels or tobacco, it sends a signal to other investors that these industries are no longer acceptable. This can lead to a decrease in investment in such industries, and can help to reduce their negative environmental or public health impacts.
In addition, divestment also provides much-needed financial support for social justice organizations. Universities can take the money they have divested from certain industries or companies and reinvest it into causes that promote human rights, sustainability efforts, and other socially beneficial projects. This allows universities to demonstrate their commitment to social justice causes, and provides an important financial boost for organizations that are working hard to make a positive impact on the world.
For example, if Colorado State University were to divest its endowment from fossil fuel investments, it could reinvest that money into organizations that are working to fight the climate crisis or support frontline communities.
It is becoming increasingly clear that universities must take a stand on environmental and social justice issues, and that divestment is one of the most impactful ways to do this. By divesting from companies that are involved in unethical practices or industries, universities can make a statement of disapproval and prioritize their support for more ethical investments.
Powerful Economic Pressure
Divestment serves as an effective form of economic pressure. An often-cited example of divestment’s power is the South African Apartheid. In 1986, universities began divesting their funds from companies that did business in South Africa, sending a message to those companies that they would no longer support them until they changed their policies. This form of economic pressure was effective in pushing corporations to change their practices.
Divestment also serves as a way for universities to align their investments with their institutional values, such as environmental sustainability and social justice. By divesting from companies that contribute to climate change or practice unethical labor policies, universities can show their support for the causes they advocate. This is especially significant in today’s world, where corporations are increasingly being held accountable for their actions.
Building a More Ethical and Sustainable Future
Furthermore, divestment can be an important part of a university’s efforts to create a more ethical and sustainable future. By investing in industries that employ more environmentally friendly practices or prioritize social justice, universities can ensure that their investments support their values and contribute to positive change.
When combined with other forms of advocacy and activism, divestment has the power to create real social change. Universities that choose to divest from companies involved in unethical practices can help to shape public opinion and draw attention to important issues. This is an important way for universities to demonstrate their commitment to making a positive impact on the world.
Join Us in Urging CSU to Divest from Fossil Fuels
Divest CSU is a movement working to push Colorado State University to divest its endowment from fossil fuel holdings. Currently, Colorado State University has more than $7 MILLION of its endowment invested in fossil fuels. We’d like to change that. If you agree, sign our petition or join our movement — everyone is welcome here!