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Terms of Reference

Terms of reference

In establishing the Group, the Council has asked that the question of divestment from businesses involved in fossil fuel extraction be broadly considered. In particular, the Council has asked the Group to examine:

(i)  the different approaches the University might take to issues associated with divestment from fossil fuel industries; and

(ii)  how those approaches might impact upon the University’s mission ‘to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning, and research at the highest international levels of excellence’.

The Council has also asked the Group:

(iii)  to consult widely across the collegiate University;

(iv)  to invite individuals and representatives of the Group’s choosing (including those from outside the collegiate University, if the Group so wishes) to meet with, and/or provide written comments to, the Group;

(v)  to aim to produce its final report, which will include recommendations, within twelve months but, if that is not possible, to provide a preliminary report to the Council within that timeframe; and

(vi)  to produce the final report for the Council in a form that may be distributed to the Regent House, if the Council so decides.


The wider University context

In May 2015, a working group on investment responsibility, chaired by Mr John Shakeshaft and established by the Advisory Committee of Benefactions and External and Legal Affairs, was asked to consider whether any changes should be recommended to the University’s Statement of Investment Responsibility (of 20 July 2009). The resulting Report focused on the University’s investment policies and management and their integration with environmental, social, and governance considerations and contained nine recommendations, now substantially implemented and reviewed, that were accepted by the Council on 13 June 2016.

In establishing the Divestment Working Group, the Council does not wish the careful and detailed work on the University’s investment practices to be repeated but instead requests a broader consideration of the question of divestment specifically from businesses involved in the fossil fuel industries.

There is strong, varied, and continued interest in the issue of divestment from fossil fuels from many within the University community, as demonstrated by the initiation a Grace by 140 members of the Regent House and the remarks made at the Discussion on 22 November 2016 on the Topic of Concern [see also the Council's response].​