Sussex to adopt new Socially Responsible Investment policy
The University’s governing Council has today (Wednesday 13 April) approved a new Socially Responsible Investment policy for the institution. The new policy has been developed with the support of the Students’ Union.
The revised policy places an emphasis on the University positively screening investments which goes well beyond simple negative screening and mirror the organisation’s aim to be a more sustainable and environmentally responsible institution. The new policy has the support of the Sussex Fossil Free campaign.
Going forward, when investment decisions are made on behalf of the University, Sussex’s investment managers will be instructed to screen firms through direct engagement, allowing them to consider a wide range of implications.
These areas will include:
- Promotion of human rights, including but not limited to the equality of gender, race and sexuality
- Promotion of good business ethics and good employment practices
- Protection of the global environment, its climate and its biodiversity including the reduction (and potential future elimination) of fossil fuel exploration and production
- Promotion of community investment
- Promotion of international co-operation and an end to international conflict
- Sustainable provision and procurement of essential resources and services (such as utilities)
Independent Council member, and chair of the working group which reviewed the policy, Martin McCann, commented: “The University of Sussex is an institution that strives for sustainable change in the world through the research and teaching it undertakes, so we feel it’s important to ensure that funds are invested as positively as possible.
“Establishing protocols for onward investments can be complex, especially for organisations with a charitable status that need to see strong returns, however we wanted to take action to do this as responsibly as possible.
“The active input and participation of the Students’ Union, and other groups across the University, has been critical in developing the policy. The valuable contribution and collective passion towards the promotion of certain environmental, social and governance standards has resulted in a strong outcome for the University.”
The Students’ Union President, Abe Baldry, said: “Working with the University to change its investment policy was a key objective for the Students’ Union this year. It’s an area that many students feel passionately about and I’m extremely pleased and proud that we’ve reached this important decision.”
The University’s Finance and Investment Committee, which is part of the governing Council, is responsible for overseeing Sussex’s investment policy. The Committee will soon tender for investment managers to execute its new Socially Responsible Investment policy. The appointed fund investment manager will be required to be a signatory to the UN Principles of Responsible Investment.