New investment policy to work towards net zero

03 July 2024

Aberystwyth University’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint has taken a further step forward this week with the publication of its new investment policy.

Developed by the University’s Investment Committee, which includes student and staff representatives, and approved by the University’s Council, the new policy sets out the institution’s approach to making investment decisions responsibly and with integrity.

Building on the previous policy introduced in 2019, the new policy represents a tightening of the criteria for making investment decisions based on the Investment Committee’s belief that climate change presents a ‘systemic threat’.

To manage this risk, the Investment Committee will work towards achieving a net zero portfolio, reflecting the University’s ambition to become a carbon neutral estate by 2030.

The net zero aim is set out in a series of beliefs and policies adopted by the committee which are aimed at removing sectors that have a negative impact on society or the environment.

These include controversial weapons and weapons systems, tobacco, UN Global Compact Violators and those that contravene international law.

To implement the new policy, new investment advisors and managers have been appointed and new pooled investment funds established which follow tighter Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria.

Simon Crick, Director of Finance and Planning at Aberystwyth University said:

“Aberystwyth University has succeeded in taking significant steps to decarbonise its investment portfolio over recent years and this new policy further underlines our commitment to socially responsible investment. The new policy means we will put greater emphasis on social aspects of investments such as equality and diversity, as well as environmental issues, and focus in greater detail on potential indirect investments that may contravene the environmental, social and governance beliefs we have set out.

“The new policy is also designed to address some of the concerns raised in the light of recent international events. The tightening of the policy should reduce further the very small proportion of the University’s funds that may be invested indirectly in companies that do not meet our criteria, and will mean even greater scrutiny on the way our investments are held.”

The work of establishing the new funds is ongoing and the University plans to make the information publicly available on its website in the next financial year.

Under the new policy the University continues to require its Investment Managers to be signatories to the Principles for Responsible Investment established under an initiative of the then United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.