ST MARY’S UNIVERSITY, TWICKENHAM, has become the 89th UK university to make a public commitment to divest from all fossil fuel companies.

St Mary’s achieved this by adding their name to People & Planet and NUS’ Fossil Free Declaration, making them the 20th university to join the global divestment movement in this way.

The Declaration speaks to the importance of such a move in this year of COP26, highlighting the fossil fuel industry as “a leading contributor to climate change – with just 100 companies responsible for 71 per cent of global carbon emissions.” It also highlights how this act is one of “solidarity with the frontline and indigenous communities disproportionately impacted by both climate change and the extractivist projects of fossil fuel companies.”

St Mary’s University joins Newman University in Birmingham and several Catholic dioceses in England and Wales – Lancaster, Middlesbrough, Arundel & Brighton and Hallam – in announcing its commitment to divest from fossil fuel companies. The Diocese of Hallam, the latest Catholic diocese to divest from fossil fuels, announced its decision in May as part of a global divestment announcement for faith organisations coordinated by Operation Noah, the Global Catholic Climate Movement and other partners.

In a public statement, Anthony McClaran, the Vice-Chancellor of St Mary’s University, Twickenham said: “As Pope Francis has reminded us in his powerful encyclical Laudato Si’, we all have a part to play in caring for our common home and building a greener, sustainable future. I am proud that we at St Mary’s are making this commitment today.”

Laura Clayson, Co-Director of Climate Campaigns at People & Planet, said: “It is incredible to see St Mary’s University, Twickenham reject an industry that bears such responsibility for the climate crisis. Importantly, in every act of divestment is support for the frontline and Indigenous communities leading the resistance against fossil fuel extraction, from Alberta, Canada to the Niger Delta, Nigeria.”

James Buchanan, Bright Now Campaign Manager at the Christian climate charity Operation Noah, said: “It is wonderful news that St Mary’s University has taken the significant step of divesting from fossil fuel companies in response to the climate crisis – joining more than 200 Catholic institutions around the world in doing so.

“As the UK prepares to host the UN climate talks later this year, we encourage all Catholic dioceses and religious orders to follow the Vatican recommendation to divest from fossil fuel companies and invest in solutions to the climate crisis.”

* More about Fossil Free Declaration here.

*Source: Operation Noah