Institutional Climate Action (ICA) - is a climate justice divestment coalition made up of students, faculty, and staff from Washington State’s publicly funded higher education institutions. We are organizing in solidarity for divestment from fossil fuel companies. We believe that our public institutions of higher education must model the equitable and just transition that’s required to confront the climate crisis and establish a more healthy and sustainable future.
What are ICA’s demands?
Declare the Climate Crisis as an emergency that requires a just response
Implement sustainable changes on campus to equitably address the climate crisis
Divest all endowments & pensions from fossil fuel investments by 2025
Re-invest at least 2.5% of endowments and/or pensions into equitable climate solutions
Commit to carbon neutrality by 2030 and zero carbon emissions by 2040
What actions is ICA taking?
In February 2021 ICA submitted a 30 page petition with over 1,000 signatures and endorsements of student groups and faculty senate, calling on the UW Board of Regents (BOR) to address our demands. This set in motion the process for UW to consider divestment and after pressure from ICA’s supporters in July, the Board convened the UW Advisory Committee for Socially Responsible Investing (ACSRI) to begin this process. The ACSRI is
on the moral implications of investing policy concerning fossil fuels. Though the exact timeline is unclear, the BOR will weigh both the ACSRI decision and UWINCO’s input, per BOR policy guidelines. More updates are expected at the end of Winter quarter and a final determination by the Board is expected by the end of the academic year in the Spring quarter. ICA will continue mobilizing community support for divestment of the UW’s endowment to ensure an equitable, carbon free future; with workshops, civic engagement, direct action, and partnerships with other organizations advocating for climate justice in the Pacific Northwest. Our latest campaign: Fossil Free U is calling on UW to cut ALL ties with the fossil fuel industry. That means not only must UW stop giving money, it must also end its dependence and collaboration with those companies; whether through grants and partnerships with Exxon, advertising for climate denying agencies, or reinvesting in our outdated,
Divestment is simply reversing the decision to invest in a morally reprehensible company or industry; for example; fossil fuels, the prison and military industrial complexes, Darfur’s genocide, Israeli apartheid, etc. For more information about fossil fuel divestment, you can start here:
UW has a six billion dollar endowment used mostly for research. The Consolidated Endowment Fund (CEF) sits at around $4.7bn as of June 2021. Donors, such as generous Alumni, or motivated industries contribute to the CEF which is pooled and invested by a privately run investment company (UWINCO) into various mutual funds and more direct investments. UWINCO ultimately decides how to invest the gifts based on the UW Board of Regents’ (BOR) investment policy. By 2016 UW had voted to selectively divest from injustices such as South African apartheid, the Darfur genocide, and direct investments in thermal coal.
As of 2021, however, at least $124M is invested in fossil fuels: 30% directly into master limited partnerships (MLPs) to develop infrastructure like fossil fuel pipelines and another 70% in mixed holdings, where spending by fossil fuel companies has little discretion.
Why do UW’s investments matter?
UWINCO has argued that pipelines are a sound investment for our future; natural gas has been presented as a needed “bridge fuel” with hydrogen to follow. Yet natural gas was the
, and causing heat stress in thousands more. The negative impacts on people go much deeper than climate catastrophe, however. The air pollution from the fossil fuel industry alone is responsible for upwards of
who have shown resistance. Can UW tacitly comply with a legacy of such violence and the destruction of our ecosystem? Are these the institutional values of a university with a moral and fiduciary responsibility to its community and the future of humanity and our planet?
Who is supporting ICA?
We currently have over 1700 signatures of community members supporting our initiative, endorsements from over 35 Registered Student Organizations at UW, and have garnered official support from ASUW Seattle, ASUW Bothell, ASUW Tacoma, the Graduate and Professional Student Senate and the Faculty Senate. We are also collaborating in solidarity with social and climate justice groups across Seattle to organize educational events and direct actions.
How can you get more involved?
Share this information with your peers/coworkers and sign our