The College of Montreal withdraws from fossil fuels

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

Posted at 9 am.

Marie-Eve Morasse

Marie-Eve Morasse
The press

The University of Montreal endowment fund, whose value was US$420 million at the end of 2021, has 4% of stock market investments directly or indirectly related to this sector. The university is committed to disposing of these actions by the end of December 2025.

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


PHOTO ALAIN ROBERGE, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Daniel Jutras, dean of the University of Montreal

“We’re talking about the entire fossil fuel chain, from exploration to commercialization,” explains Daniel Jutras, dean of the University of Montreal. According to him, this is a “strong sign 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 even started a hunger strike, which ended when the dean undertook to present a scenario of divestment in fossil fuels.


PHOTO DAVID BOILY, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Last March, students occupied the lobby of the Roger-Gaudry pavilion at the University of Montreal for five days to pressure the administration to withdraw its investments in the fossil fuel sector.

“We must be heard, not deprive ourselves of the need to convey a message,” lamented one activist.

In an interview, the dean said that thinking was already “very advanced” at the university. “We’ve been working on scenarios for a few months now. [de retrait des énergies fossiles] that we were going to present to the executive committee”, explains Daniel Jutras.

Commitments from other universities

In addition to the University of Montreal, the University of Quebec in Montreal and Concordia University have committed to getting out of oil. Despite the student mobilization that has persisted for several years, McGill University has not made any commitment in this regard.

“Seeing big institutional actors moving towards divestment had a significant effect. We also hear voices internally”, explains Daniel Jutras, who cites the “illuminating” report on sustainable development presented by the Federation of Student Associations.

But “regardless of what is happening elsewhere”, the dean explains that the University of Montreal is working on an action plan for sustainable development. “There will certainly be targets related to carbon neutrality, in a very fast term”, says Daniel Jutras.

“There are also efforts that affect our own activities, internally, in addition to the investments we make,” says the dean. He cites in particular the heating up of the university, professional travel and the construction of new infrastructure.

With the collaboration of Léa Carrier, The press

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