Student group continues to press Trustees on divestment

QBACC president outlines three proposals at December meeting

Nick Lorraway, QBACC President, at the December Board of Trustees meeting

At December’s Board of Trustees meeting, Nick Lorraway (ArtSci ’20), president of Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change (QBACC) delivered refined divestment proposals, aiming for more feasibility.   

After rallying with students on Sept. 27, QBACC made its first appearance of the year at a Board of Trustees meeting to discuss divestment and other sustainability changes on campus. Some of the changes included retrofitting old campus buildings, implementing mandatory Indigenous sensitivity and awareness training for all staff and faculty, and reducing waste.

“It is clear that Canada needs to undertake an economic transition to a low-carbon economy and Queen’s should embrace this change,” Lorraway said at the meeting.

After consultation between members of the Board, faculty, staff and experts, Lorraway said QBACC has refined its proposals to be more workable and implementable.

The first proposal QBACC has is to stop investing in fossil fuel companies not undertaking transition.

“By 2025, we believe we should have reached out to all 19 major fossil fuel companies that we’re currently invested in and seek to verify transition plans where they adjust their business model to fully reduce full-scope emissions to levels compatible with achieving our climate goals,” Lorraway said.

However, according to Lorraway , the companies Queen’s invests in revealed they have no intentions to transition to more sustainable practices.

“We must remove our investments,” Lorraway said. “The point of this campaign is to catalyze the transition to a low-     carbon economy."

The second proposal aims to prevent such problems from arising again, Lorraway said.

“We view this campaign being more than just about the environmental aspect, we want this to be the last divestment campaign that Queen’s ever sees.” Whether it will be is up to Queen’s Board of Trustees.

For its the third proposal, QBACC will seek to create future dialogue about investment and the social impact of investing based on Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) factors across campus.

“We need to acknowledge that there's a problem that climate change needs to be addressed in a meaningful way,” Lorraway said.

He added that by engaging with fossil fuel companies with a clear mandate can develop new ways to prepare for future conversation and solutions.

Don Raymond, former chair of the Board of Trustees, responded by saying further discussions regarding sustainable funds and ESG will take place. 

“I intend to spend some time with the board to discuss the process by which we will consider and respond to how best to deal moving forward,” Raymond said.


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