The University of Montreal is pulling out of fossil fuels

The University of Montreal is pulling out of fossil fuels

By the end of 2025, the University of Montreal will withdraw its investments affecting the fossil fuel sector, following in the footsteps of other major universities.

Posted at 9:00 am

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Marie Eve Morasse

Marie-Eve Morasse The press

The University of Montreal Endowment Fund, valued at $420 million at the end of 2021, has 4% of stock market investment directly or indirectly related to this sector. The university has committed to divesting itself of these shares by the end of December 2025.

This fund is mainly used to finance research projects and award scholarships.

The University of Montreal is pulling out of fossil fuels

PHOTO ALAIN ROBERGE, LA PRESS ARCHIVE

Daniel Jutras, Rector of the University of Montreal

“We’re talking about the entire fossil fuel chain, from exploration to commercialization,” explains Daniel Jutras, Rector of the University of Montreal. According to him, this is a “strong signal that the Université de Montréal is at a turning point in terms of sustainable development”.

student protest

In March, students occupied the hall of a university pavilion for five days. Two activists had even started a hunger strike, which they ended when the rector promised to present a fossil fuel phase-out scenario.

1655327769 300 The University of Montreal is pulling out of fossil fuels

PHOTO DAVID BOILY, LA PRESSE ARCHIVE

Last March, students occupied the lobby of the Roger Gaudry Pavilion at the University of Montreal for five days to pressure management into withdrawing its investments in the fossil fuel sector.

“We should be listened to, we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of the need to convey a message,” lamented one activist.

In an interview, the rector said that thinking at the university was “very advanced”. “We have already been working on scenarios for a few months. [de retrait des énergies fossiles] that we wanted to present to the Management Board,” explains Daniel Jutras.

commitments from other universities

In addition to the University of Montreal, the University of Quebec in Montreal and Concordia University have also committed to phase out oil. Despite student mobilization that has been going on for several years, McGill University has made no commitment in this regard.

“Seeing big institutional players move towards divestment had a significant impact. We also heard voices internally,” explains Daniel Jutras, who quotes the “enlightening” report on sustainable development by the Studierendenwerksbund.

But “regardless of what happens elsewhere,” the rector explains, the University of Montreal is working on a sustainable development action plan. “There will certainly be targets in terms of carbon neutrality in a fairly accelerated timeframe,” says Daniel Jutras.

“There are also efforts that affect our own activities, internally, beyond the investments made,” says the Rector. In particular, he mentions the heating of the university, business trips and the construction of new infrastructure.

With the collaboration of Léa Carrier, La Presse