Timeline and summary of Fossil Free UCT campaign


November 2013

– Letter sent to UCT Finance calling for fossil fuel divestment

  • Inquiry about UCT’s investment policies and practices
  • UCT’s endowment is greater than R2 billion
  • Call for UCT to not contradict its climate change researchers 


July 2014

– Fossil Fuel UCT campaign officially launched

  • Presentation on the background and motivation for divestment
  • Guest speakers Jolynn Minnaar (director of Unearthed), Richard Calland (Law faculty) and Prof Mark New (ACDI)
  • More than 100 people in attendance

September 2014

– Second letter sent to VC Max Price and management asking for information

  • Request of information on UCT’s fossil fuel investments
  • Request on what the Joint Investment Committee’s (JIC) next steps will be regarding divestment
  • General appeal for more transparency and engagement, given the seriousness of climate change impacts

November 2014

– Renewed call to UCT Council for divestment

  • This was done together with a motivation for all the reasons fossil fuel divestment should and must be considered (see link)


January 2015

– UCT Council proposes an advisory committee regarding fossil fuel divestment and ethical investment issues

February 2015

– Global Divestment Day demonstrations

May 2015

– Fossil Free UCT and GCI host May Boeve from

  • Fossil Free UCT also host a session between May Boeve and VC Max Price and member of investment task team

July 2015

– ACDI masters students and department of EGS write to the university urging divestment

  • “We believe that fossil fuel divestment is morally, financially and developmentally the right thing to do”
  • Reminder that 2015 is a critical year, especially with COP21 in Paris
  • UCT can play a leading role by committing to divestment

August 2015

– Fossil Free UCT participates in a meeting of the university’s ethical investment task team


May 2016

– Panel discussion on merits and demerits of fossil fuel divestment

  • Representatives from Commerce Faculty, GSB, GCI and Fossil Free SA coordinator
  • Divestment is more than removing money from companies that contribute to climate change – it is a symbol that the university commits to climate action
  • Stakeholder engagement vs. divestment was discussed
  • Nuances on both sides to be considered, but it is also about ethical and moral issues of investing in fossil fuels

May 2016

– Fossil Free UCT attends meeting of the Ethical Investment Task Team

  • Meeting discussed a draft proposal for establishing a responsible investing framework for the university

September 2016

– UCT GCI students attend a summit hosted by

  • Divestment strategies were discussed amongst UCT, Stellenbosch and 350 Africa team

November 2016

– Petitions for UCT to divest were handed to VC Max Price by GCI and CAP

  • The 2016 renewed call to divest letter was handed over
  • A separate letter from the ACDI masters class was handed over
  • The original Fossil Free UCT petition with over 400 signatures was handed over
  • VC Price asked for more student leadership and engagement regarding divestment at UCT


March 2017

– UCT convocation passed a non-binding motion for the university to rid itself of all investments in fossil fuels within five years

  • Convocation comprises of UCT alumni, vice-chancellors and academic staff
  • VC Price asked for the motion to be amended to not include the 5 year period for divestment, but this did not pass
  • “Despite being non-binding, Convocation’s endorsement of divestment is significant, as it marks yet another call from the university community to the administration to align the university’s investments with its values”
  • Once again a call for disclosure of investments was requested

May 2017

– UCT GCI and CAP host Global Divestment Mobilisation (GDM) events to raise awareness and engagement with students


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