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Request for proposals: Cash and money market funds

UK Universities propose new cash market to stop financing fossil fuel expansion

Sixty seven leading institutions and trusts in UK Higher Education, including the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Leeds, Oxford, Southampton, St Andrews, Westminster and University College London, have collaborated on a new effort to create a market for cash products that do not contribute to the financing of fossil fuel expansion.​

The institutions are especially keen to avoid financing companies that are constructing new coal- and gas-fired power plants in OECD countries. New fossil fuel infrastructure can lock in decades of fossil fuel demand and subsequent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are the main cause of climate change.

The institutions have issued a Request for Proposals (RfP) to financial institutions for cash products such as deposits and money market funds.

University of Cambridge Chief Financial Officer Anthony Odgers said:

“What we and our partners are focussed on with this mandate is finding financial services products that do not contribute to the expansion of fossil fuels – in particular, new coal- and gas-fired plants which lock in demand for decades.”

Responsible investment is a mainstream part of equities investing, but it is still not widespread in the debt markets even though a large majority of the new capital for companies constructing new fossil fuel power stations or exploring for new reserves comes from debt.

For this reason, the institutions behind the RfP have focused on banks and the bond market as the primary sources of external financing for fossil fuel expansion. Fossil fuels are responsible for around 80% of GHG emissions globally.

The RfP criteria are based on the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario and are in line with emissions reductions laid out in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Sixth Assessment Report.

University of Cambridge Head of Group Treasury Heather Davis said:

“The University treasurers in this group all share a common goal, which is to manage money in a way that doesn’t contribute to the financing of fossil fuel expansion and to find something that aligns with the IEA Net Zero Emissions Scenario, and that is lacking in the cash space at present.”

The RfP is also an effort by institutions to direct funding towards the much-needed construction of renewables to accelerate the rapid energy transition away from fossil fuels, and particularly in areas where finance is a key constraint for growth, such as in low-income countries.​

The initiative continues to attract signatories, with additional institutions signing up after publication of the RfP​.

The institutions participating in the RfP are:

Bath Spa University
Birkbeck, University of London
Bournemouth University
Brasenose College, Oxford
Cambridge University Press & Assessment
Cardiff University
Christ's College, Cambridge
Churchill College, Cambridge
Clare College, Cambridge
Clare Hall College, Cambridge
Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Corpus Christi College, Oxford
Darwin College, Cambridge
Downing College, Cambridge
Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
Girton College, Cambridge
Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge
Hughes Hall, Cambridge
Jesus College, Cambridge
King's College, Cambridge
London School of Economics​​

Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge 
Magdalene College, Cambridge 
Manchester Metropolitan University
Merton College, Oxford 
Newnham College, Cambridge 
Nottingham Trent University 
Oxford Brookes University 
Pembroke College, Cambridge 
Peterhouse, Cambridge 
Queens' College, Cambridge 
Robinson College, Cambridge 
Royal Holloway University  
Selwyn College, Cambridge  
Sheffield Hallam University
Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge 
St Antony's College, Oxford 
St Catharine's College, Cambridge
St Edmund Hall, Oxford 
St Edmund's College, Cambridge 
St John's College, Cambridge 
The Gates Cambridge Trust 
The Isaac Newton Trust, Cambridge 

​The Open University 
The Queen's College, Oxford​
​Trinity College, Cambridge
University College London (UCL)
University of Bristol
University of Cambridge
University of Dundee
University of Edinburgh
University of Exeter
University of Gloucestershire
University of Leeds
University of Manchester
University of Oxford
University of Reading
University of Southampton
University of St Andrews
University of Sussex
University of the Arts London
University of Westminster
University of York
Wolfson College, Cambridge
Worcester College, Oxford​


Deadlines for ​Round 1 Re​sponse​s​ 
​  Notice of intention to resp​​ond​ 29 February 2024
  ​Questions and queries  ​29 February 2024
  ​Final responses ​8 April 2024
For further information on how your Higher Education institution can become a signatory to the RfP, how your financial provider can offer a proposal for consideration or seek further information, please contact:

Banking Engagement Forum:

  Last updated: 18 June 2024 ​​​​​​