This group began in 2013 under the leadership of Lenore Fahrig. It lobbied the Carleton Pension Committee to divest from fossil fuel investments. While the group made much headway in the five years that it was active, it folded in late 2018 when there were no further avenues to pursue. Many of its members remain dedicated to fossil fuel divestment and climate change action, both at Carleton and beyond. We’re all grateful for the important work the group did in bringing fossil fuel divestment into public discussion and seeking to mobilize the university’s role as a climate action leader.

Carleton Fossil Free Faculty (CFFF) is a group of Carleton faculty who are deeply concerned about human impacts on climate. Our aim is to stimulate discussion and action on fossil fuel divestment at Carleton.

Our support for fossil fuel divestment is motivated by our strong commitment to our students’ future. Investment in the fossil fuel industry implies support for a fossil fuel-based economy, but that economy is compromising the capacity of our planet to provide the basic food and water resources needed by the coming generations. Divestment from fossil fuels sends the message to governments that they need to stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry and put the necessary resources into building a future based on renewable energy. Divestment from fossil fuels also sends the message to industry that continued exploration and development of fossil fuels is unethical, particularly given that current known reserves are much larger than can be burned without causing climate catastrophe. Simply put, the fossil fuel industry needs to get out of fossil fuels.

CFFF is encouraging the Carleton Pension Committee to divest our pension holdings from fossil fuel companies. We believe this is necessary for both ethical and financial reasons. Ethically, it is not right for Carleton faculty to hold investments in the industry that is destroying our students’ expectations of a livable future. Divestment is also the financially responsible course of action. Comparisons of investment portfolios with and without major fossil fuel companies show that portfolios without fossil fuels perform at least as well as, and usually better than, portfolios with fossil fuels. Furthermore, if governments begin taking serious measures to limit carbon emissions, the value of fossil fuel companies will decline further. So, looking to the future, divestment is the prudent move. Therefore, we argue that divestment from fossil fuels is consistent with the fiduciary responsibility of the Carleton Pension Committee. But more importantly, it is consistent with our responsibility to our students. Please see our February 2015 submission to the Pension Committee for further details.

In addition to our efforts to convince the Pension Committee to divest fossil fuels from our pension fund, CFFF encourages other groups on campus to launch fossil fuel divestment campaigns. We will offer our support to such groups as needed.

*Update November 03, 2015* CFFF has sent a letter to the Pension Committee requesting clarification on the legal basis for their assertion that we cannot divest the pension fund from fossil fuels because the pension is legally prohibited from screening investments on ethical grounds. For the full text, please click here.

*Update June 09, 2016* Great news CFFF! The Canadian Association of Geographers has passed a motion to divest from fossil fuels. Additionally, Washing DC voted to divest its $6.4 pension fund of fossil fuels.
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*Update February 15, 2017* Laval becomes the first university in Canada to commit to divesting from all fossil fuel holdings.