November 21, 2013

83 Percent of Participating Yale Students Vote to Support Fossil Fuel Divestment

Fossil Free YaleNEW HAVEN, CT. – Eighty-three percent of participating Yale students voted for Yale University to divest from the dirtiest fossil fuel companies, in a referendum held by the Yale College Council. Over 2,000 students participated in the referendum.  The results demonstrate student support for divestment.

The Yale College Council, the undergraduate student government, hosted the referendum from November 17  to November 20.  Fossil Free Yale, the divestment campaign, was opposed by Students for a Strong Endowment, a student group formed following the announcement of the referendum.  Fossil Free Yale advocated a plan for divestment following guidelines on investor responsibility as outlined in the Yale-authored The Ethical Investor.

Fossil Free Yale proposes divestment from the companies contributing the most to climate change, while encouraging improvement in environmental performance.  Under Fossil Free Yale’s plan, companies would first disclose their greenhouse gas emissions data. Yale would divest from non-reporting companies.  The proposal then advocates engagement with the dirtiest fossil fuel companies to decrease their contribution to climate change before divesting from the companies with the highest emissions intensities, measured by greenhouse gas emissions per unit energy produced.  Fossil Free Yale’s proposal reflects conversations with the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility, with which the group has worked since January 2013.  The Advisory Committee provides recommendations on ethical investing to the Yale Corporation.

Following the referendum, Fossil Free Yale plans to continue to engage with the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility.  Yale College Council will now offer their support to the campaign.  Fossil Free Yale will continue to work with Yale professors to review the proposal for divestment and, in particular, the metrics used to evaluate a company’s contributions to climate change.  The campaign will also focus efforts on alumni, graduate student, faculty, and staff support.

CONTACT: Hannah Nesser <>

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