HAWAII – The University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents has voted to divest the university’s $66-million endowment from fossil fuels today.
UH joins more than 200 higher learning and government institutions that have pledged to do the same, according to the website gofossilfree.org. UH is one of the biggest universities to move their investments in coal, oil and gas companies elsewhere.
A task force appointed by Regents to study the idea concluded divestment would not directly result in the reduction of carbon emissions, but would “galvanize the UH community to take action” and “invest in the production of alternative energy, to make energy-saving investments and to change institutional as well as individual behaviors.”
The board approached its discussion on divestment with the spirit of collaboration. The divestment task group was comprised of faculty, students, administrators and board members. The result was a superb collaborative effort and the final outcome represented the best of shared governance.”Randy Moore, UH Board of Regents Chair
The task group worked closely with the board’s investment manager UBS Financial Service, Inc. to evaluate potential divestment options as well as impacts to the investment goals and policies. UBS says it has seen an increasing number of institutional investors seeking fossil fuel-free funds, and anticipates that eventually such funds will be offered at competitive fees.UH System
State House Representative Chris Lee, Chair of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee, issued a statement on the UH vote.
I commend the UH Board of Regents on leading by example and looking out for the interests of local residents. Hawaii is already spending millions to save our eroding beaches and diminishing fresh water supply from growing climate changes. It’s important we not raise costs to taxpayers by investing in fossil fuels that add to the problem, and instead invest in clean alternatives that can be equally profitable. It is not only the right thing to do, but, together with the Legislature’s decision to move the state toward 100 percent renewable energy by 2045, puts Hawaii in the forefront of nationwide efforts to move toward greater reliance on renewable and sustainability energy resources.” Rep. Chris Lee