Lady Margaret Hall JCR have passed a motion urging the college to divest from companies on the Carbon Underground 200 list, which ranks the top 200 coal, oil, and gas companies by the size of their carbon reserves.
The motion, passed on Sunday, stated that divestment would allow “LMH to align its investment with its ethical commitments.”
JCR officer and proposer of the motion, Matthew Judson, told Cherwell: “I’m delighted that the JCR endorsed this motion so emphatically.
“The LMH student body has sent a clear signal that we believe it is unacceptable to continue to profit from environmentally destructive activities.
“I expect our college to take our views seriously and to immediately consider the appropriateness of its investment practices.
“I hope students across Oxford will support the campaigns by Oxford SU and Oxford Climate Justice and take action in their own colleges.
“It is vital that we use the voice we have to protect our planet, and I thank my peers at LMH for playing their part in advancing this important cause.”
The motion extends its support to a recent paper authored by MCR Green Rep Julia Peck, outlining strategies the college may adopt in order to divest its portfolio from fossil fuels.
Peck told Cherwell: “We are proud of the College’s history as an institution established to invest in the future it wanted. In the 19th century case, this meant the future of women’s education, an issue which other Oxonians at the time thought was too radical or complicated.
“In today’s case, the imperative is a low-carbon future for a livable and just planet, and we believe it is LMH’s turn to become the first Oxford college to demonstrate what that looks like.”
Peck’s paper was distributed to LMH fellows at the beginning of term. Amidst broadly positive responses, some concerns were raised about whether this might compromise the college’s returns.
Peck added: “Thankfully, we have many successful models to point to: the University of Edinburgh, Cardiff, Sheffield, and SOAS have all fully divested their University endowments this year.
“New York City is divesting five billion dollars from fossil fuel companies as well.
“Designing a profitable, climate-just and future-friendly portfolio will certainly take work and collaboration within LMH, but we believe it’s absolutely worth it.”
Part of LMH’s fossil fuel investments are managed by a subsidiary, which also manages assets for the University and 25 other colleges.
LMH will become the 11th Oxford college to pass a fossil fuel divestment motion since the beginning of the academic year.