Daily Hampshire Gazette
Amherst College is pledging to make no new investments in gas and oil and fully divest its nearly $2.5 billion endowment from fossil fuel investment funds by around 2030.
In a letter sent to students, faculty, staff and alumni Wednesday, board of trustees Chairman Andrew J. Nussbaum announced the decisions made by the board to bring the college closer to sustainability and meeting the goals of its Climate Action Plan.
“This announcement largely formalizes actions that have been in place for years,” Nussbaum wrote. “We have neither held direct investments in fossil fuel companies nor made new commitments to fossil fuel funds in over two years.”
By 2025, the college anticipates that these investments will be reduced by 60% from existing levels, according to Nussbaum’s letter.
Since the board released its statement on Sustainability and Investment Policy in 2015, the direct and indirect investment in fossil fuels has declined from 6% to 3% as a proportion of the endowment. But that statement didn’t include a requirement to divest from gas and oil holdings.
The Climate Action Plan released in 2019 previously accelerated the timeline of the college’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality from 2035 to 2030, transitioning campus energy infrastructure away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy, including using electric heat pumps and geothermal energy sources to power campus buildings.
A cornerstone of this plan is an investment of $80 million in the conversion of the college’s power plant to run entirely with geothermal energy.