WHO: The Barnard College Board of Trustees announced today approval of a plan to divest from fossil fuel companies that deny climate science or otherwise seek to thwart efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change. Barnard is the first college to take the unique and innovative approach of divesting from climate change deniers.

WHAT: The plan was recommended by the Barnard Presidential Task Force to Examine Divestment and was submitted to the Board of Trustees in December 2016 (more about the recommendation can be read here). It was the result of a nine-month review by the Task Force, comprised of trustees, faculty, staff and students, which was formed in response to a student-led campaign by the group Divest Barnard.

WHY: Barnard College enjoys a long history as a pioneer in environmental research and education, and is currently involved in a number of sustainability initiatives. The divestment plan is unique in higher education. Furthermore, it aligns the College’s investments with its core mission, centered on academic freedom and scientific integrity. It will enable the College to distinguish between companies based on their behavior and willingness to transition to a cleaner economy and could create incentives for the poorest performers to change their ways.

“More than ever, academic freedom and scientific integrity are under attack. We applaud Barnard for taking this innovative approach to aligning the College’s investments with its values,” said Kathy Mulvey, climate accountability campaign manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a non-profit science advocacy organization that ranks fossil fuel companies on “climate deception, disclosure and action” through its Climate Accountability Scorecard.


Anna O’Sullivan

Beth Kwon