September 18th, 2014

MONTREAL, QUEBEC: As a result of considerable community concern, Principal Fortier and the McGill Board of Governors recently released a number of improvements to its ethical investment rules—rules for when McGill takes action such as divestment or shareholder action against companies with destructive practices. These changes come in the face of the starkest UN report on climate change to date, expressing extreme danger to many species on earth, including humans.

“The Board invited us at Divest McGill to submit feedback about their ethical investment policy. Adding grave injurious impact… on the natural environment to their parameters of unacceptable corporate behavior was one of the many changes we recommended and we are glad to see they added it,” said Jelena Grbic of of Divest McGill. “Changing the policy is only the first step, of course. This change only makes it more obvious that McGill must divest from the fossil fuel industry—an industry that is polluting our earth and polluting our political system with hundreds of millions in lobbying and invests billions in exploring for new carbon. To have any hope for a liveable climate, the science clearly demands they keep 80% of their current reserves underground. The fossil fuel industry is on a collision course with our future; we need McGill to end their complicity by divesting.”

Two other changes give the ethical investment committee a more active role. First, a requirement to meet at least annually; second, authorizing the Committee to consult McGill professors, conduct studies, or independently review university policies.

“Before our petition, the committee hadn’t met since at least 2008,” David Summerhays, also a Divest McGill member, added. “We’re very glad they will be more active. We need McGill defending our future—a future threatened from many directions, especially by the fossil fuel lobby. We can’t afford for McGill to have its head in the tar sands. But they haven’t divested yet, so there is much work still to be done.”


Divest McGill is a campaign calling on McGill university to address the urgency of climate change by divesting its endowment from the fossil fuel industry and to reinvest into more environmentally, socially, and economically responsible alternatives. Divestment from fossil fuels has the support of groups representing over 33,000 members of the McGill community. We are part of a movement of over 600 other fossil fuel divestment campaigns worldwide working towards climate justice.


David Summerhays:

Jelena Grbic: (514) 912-9054