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30 March 2021

King's fully divests from fossil fuels

King’s College London has fully divested from all fossil fuels almost two years ahead of schedule.

Image of Guy's campus, featuring the living wall.

We are delighted to announce that as of the start of 2021, King’s has fully divested from all fossil fuels. This vital step in our efforts towards combatting the climate crisis comes nearly two years ahead of our target to be fully divested by the end of 2022.

Since making a commitment to our full divestment target in 2017, we have steadily reduced our exposure to fossil fuels from 7.3 per cent in 2017 to zero in 2021.

I am delighted to announce that King’s has fully divested from fossil fuels, two years in advance of our original target. This is a remarkable collective achievement and demonstrates our commitment to taking climate action. This is all part of our mission of being in service to society and ensuring a positive future for our university and our shared planet.

Professor Evelyn Welch, Interim Principal and Provost (Arts & Sciences)

Our journey towards divestment has been guided by calls from our students and staff for King’s to take action. We formed the Socially Responsible Investment Review Committee following the Fossil Free KCL campaign in 2016 and made a commitment to partial divestment and full divestment the following year.

As an institution that is committed to acting in service to society, we recognise that maximising our positive impacts is as important as reducing our negative impacts. Reinvesting our endowment in funds with socially responsible benefits is therefore an important part of our Ethical Investment Policy.

It is inspiring to see so many King’s students and staff take part in our sustainability initiatives. The divestment target is a fantastic example of a student campaign that has led to real change at the university. We are currently working towards co-creating our Climate Action Plan with students and staff from across King’s, and their diverse views are invaluable in developing a challenging plan for King's that will deliver meaningful change.

Kat Thorne, Director of Sustainability

We are committed to dedicating 40 per cent of our funds to investments with socially responsible benefits by 2025 and have made significant progress towards achieving this target in the last four years. For example, we have invested £31.5 million (12.8 per cent of our total investments) into Northern Trust’s World Green Transition Index Fund, which not only screens out fossil fuel producers and the worst 10 per cent of companies by carbon emissions intensity, but also has a positive ‘tilt’ towards companies that generate ‘green’ revenue, such as energy efficiency and alternative energy. We have also invested £11.4 million (4.6 per cent of our investments) into RobecoSAM’s Sustainable Water Strategy, which invests in companies with innovative technologies and products across the water value chain that will help deal with the issue of water scarcity.

The King’s Climate Action Network (CAN), established in October 2020, is also looking at how we can align our investments with our target to be net zero carbon by 2025, as part of its Responsible Investment sub-group. The King’s CAN builds on our existing work to reduce our carbon emissions. We have so far reduced our scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 54 per cent since 2005-06, exceeding our 43 per cent reduction by 2020 target.

My involvement in the Responsible Investment sub-group has been incredibly rewarding and encouraging. The great news that King’s has fully divested from all fossil fuels makes me both proud to be part of our outstanding community at King's and excited about what we will achieve next.

Nadja Schmidbauer, Biomedical Science student and member of the King’s Climate Action Network Responsible Investment sub-group

King’s commitment to responsible investment is a core part of our wider commitment to Service and tackling the climate emergency.

Further information

  • The King’s Climate Action Network (CAN) is currently working on the development of the King’s Climate Action Strategy, a collaborative plan to reach our target to be net zero carbon by 2025. The network and its seven sub-groups are open to all students and staff at King’s.
  • Find out more about King’s efforts towards protecting the environment in our Environmental Sustainability Reports.
  • Read more about how King’s makes a positive difference in our local, national and international communities in the Service Annual Report 2019-20.

Delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals

King's College London has a long and proud history of serving the needs and aspirations of society. We are committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a university, and we use them as a framework for reporting on our social impact. The SDGs are a set of 17 goals approved by the 193 member states of the United Nations (UN) which aim to transform the world by 2030. This work supports SDGs 7 and 13.

In this story

Evelyn Welch

Former Senior Vice President (Service, People & Planning)

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