University of Toronto. Photo by The Canadian Press, used under license.

TORONTO — The University of Toronto says it will sell off all fossil fuel investments in its $4 billion endowment fund by the end of 2030 and target a net-zero portfolio by 2050 to help fight climate change.

The commitment includes divesting from all direct investments in fossil fuels companies within the next year, and to divest from indirect exposure to fossil fuels through things like pooled investments by 2030.

The announcement by University of Toronto President Meric Gertler comes after he rejected a call in 2016 for the university to divest, saying at the time that the university would focus on pushing for better carbon disclosure and encouraging companies to reduce emissions.

At the time, the university also committed to reducing the carbon footprint of the endowment, but Gertler says that the growing severity of the climate crisis means the university must now take additional, immediate and decisive action.

U of T becomes the latest Canadian university to commit to divesting their endowment, following on the likes of University of British Columbia, University of Guelph and Concordia University.

The divestment movement has gathered momentum globally with recent news including Harvard University committing in September to divest its US$42 billion endowment, while a coalition of groups pushing for divestment said Tuesday that there’s now some $39.2 trillion in capital committed to not invest in fossil fuels.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press

News from © The Canadian Press, 2021. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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