Münster University pledges to divest from fossil fuels

Münster University has pledged to become the first German University to divest from coal, petrol and gas investments. It is the first German higher education body to commit to a fossil fuel divestment.

According to its most recent financial reports from 2016, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, known in English as Münster University, held about €1.8m in assets, of which €1.4m in a number of trust foundations.

Through its fund investments in these trusts, the university is currently among others invested in ASF, BP, BHP, Statoil, Rio Tinto, OMV, Total Capital und Wells Fargo, according to Fossil Free Münster.

The commitment to divest has been made following a grassroots campaign by Fossil Free Münster which was backed by a group of university staff members.

Clara Scharfenstein, a spokesperson for the campaign, welcomes the decision to divest but highlights that the commitment does so far not extend to assets held in its investment trusts. “We are now calling on Münster University’s investment trusts and other German higher education bodies to take similar measures and divest from companies which accelerate climate change” she says.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mona Dohle
Mona Dohle speaks German and Dutch, she is DACH & Benelux Correspondent for InvestmentEurope. Prior to that, she worked as a journalist in Egypt and Palestine. She started her career as a journalist working for a local German newspaper. Mona graduated with an MSc in Development Studies from SOAS and has completed the CISI Certificate in International Wealth and Investment Management.

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