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UNSW introduces new sustainable investment policy on road to carbon neutrality

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UNSW introduces new sustainable investment policy on road to carbon neutrality

UNSW has implemented a new investment strategy to become a leader in adopting environmental, social and governance principles in its investment activities.

The new policy establishes a climate change strategy for investments, reflecting the global community’s commitments made under the Paris Agreement and UNSW’s world-leading research to find solutions to climate change and a just transition to a carbon neutral future.

UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs said the new policy “puts responsible investment principles first” and reflects the need for a fair and orderly transition to clean energy.

“UNSW’s path to carbon neutrality is, we believe, the correct approach. One of the drivers of 21st century jobs and global economic growth will be renewable energy and energy efficiency industries,” he said, “and Australia definitely needs to be part of that. That’s where new investment will go, but this change has to be carefully planned and managed. It cannot happen overnight.

“Under UNSW’s new investment policy, we envisage a gradual transition in our investment portfolio, reflecting the steps that need to be taken as Australia moves to a clean energy future. This will inevitably involve greater investment in renewable energy production and less in fossil fuels over time,” Professor Jacobs said. “We see this as a planned and responsible transition in our investments, distinct from the usual use of the term ‘Fossil Fuel Divestment’, which implies an immediate end to direct investment in fossil fuel-producing entities.”

Professor Jacobs said the new investment policy was just one of many initiatives that UNSW was taking to help achieve those targets, many of which are outlined in the University’s 2025 Strategy.

“The University is investing heavily in climate change research and we are at the forefront of developing renewable, clean energy technologies, as evidenced by our global leadership in photovoltaic cell research.”

Professor Jacobs flagged UNSW was also exploring options to increase its use of renewable energy on campus.

“All of these initiatives are part of a considered and planned approach to transition to carbon neutrality in line with the Paris Agreement.”

UNSW is also playing a leading role in social engagement through the UNSW Climate Change Grand Challenge, which is already generating rigorous debate and innovative thinking, including formation of the Leadership Forum on Energy Transition, an initiative of the Australian Conservation Foundation, chaired by Professor Jacobs.

That group, which brings together 17 leaders from industry, business, academia and the community, yesterday presented its blueprint for a clean energy future to the Federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg.

The Forum blueprint, titled ‘Our Energy Future: a plan to transition Australia to clean energy’, calls on the federal government to lead a national energy transition plan to shift Australia to clean energy, by engaging across parliament and with all levels of government, communities, workers and businesses.

“The new UNSW investment strategy reflects the proposals in the blueprint for a sustainable, planned and fair approach to achieving carbon neutrality, and provides a realistic pathway to support a clean, secure, and affordable energy future,” Professor Jacobs said.

source : The University of New South Wales

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