SF State joins campaign to divest money from fossil fuels

S.F. examiner file photoSan Francisco State University has committed to divest money from fossil fuel investments.

San Francisco State University has pledged to become greener through a campaign to refrain from accepting fossil fuel-related investments.

Last month, the school’s Foundation Board unanimously approved a resolution committing to divest money from investments associated with fossil fuels, becoming the first four-year public university to join a growing list of colleges in a Fossil Free campaign.

As part of the resolution, at its March 29 the board called for a number of changes within five years, including continuing to divest “from direct ownership of companies with significant exposure to production or use of coal and tar sands,” according to college spokeswoman Gianna Devoto.

The resolution also requires the careful monitoring of specific funds to determine the percentage of these investments in companies that produce or use considerable amounts of fossil fuels, Devoto said.

In addition, a “socially responsible” portfolio option will be made available for donors wanting to invest in such causes, according to Devoto. A carbon footprint will be created for the portfolio, which will be published each year along with a separate carbon footprint for the entire campus.

Outreach for such measures is also requested in the resolution, so that other foundations, pension funds or investors may choose to adopt all or part of the policies.

The changes are meant to be implemented beginning July 1.

While the board had previously voted to divest direct money from companies that use fossil fuels considerably, the new resolution outlines direct steps the board will take toward environmentally conscious investing.

John Gumas, chairman of the SF State Foundation, said the university is “charting new waters” with its fossil fuel divestment policy and will share its experience with other colleges and universities that may be interested in similar efforts.

“The foundation makes investments so that returns can help build the University and its future — that is our fiduciary responsibility,” Gumas said. “We believe that with careful planning we can both build our endowment and do our part to endow future generations with a healthy environment.”Bay Area NewseducationFossil fuelsSan Francisco State UniversitySF State Foundation Board

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