Monday, 6 October 2014
The Australian 4 October 2014:
THE Australian National University has become the first local higher-education institution to announce that it will divest its holdings in seven companies — including Santos, Newcrest Mining and Iluka Resources — which it says have a poor record on environmental responsibility.
ANU vice-chancellor Ian Young said yesterday that the value of the divestment was about $16 million of ANU’s $1 billion endowment.
The decision was based on principle but he hoped it would draw attention to companies that “do harm”. “We are saying we don’t want to invest in companies that are not socially responsible and are doing harm,’’ Professor Young said. “That is different from saying we won’t invest in any mining companies.”
The other affected stocks are Independence Group, Sandfire Resources, Oil Search and Sirius.
Julian Poulter, the executive director of the Asset Owners Disclosure Project, said the ANU’s gesture was largely symbolic but was also very “helpful”. “We are seeing people starting to hedge their portfolios against potential stranded assets, including divesting of the very worst,” he said.
In August, the University of Sydney called a halt to investments in Whitehaven Coal until it had completed a review of its investment strategy over environmental concerns on Whitehaven’s Maules Creek project.
The Australian National University (ANU) is attempting to establish its green credentials.
This is not the first time that ANU has divested itself of mining shares.
In 2012 the university was the 17th largest shareholder in coal seam-tight gas miner Metgasco Limited holding 2,500,000 shares as of 21 September that year.
By February 2013 after pressure from its student body and individuals in the Northern Rivers (including the Clarence Valley) ANU announced it had sold all of its Metgasco shares.